VRUK at West Midland Vegan Festival, Oct12

An early start this year for Wolverhampton to allow more time to setup the Vegan Runners stall but little time for sleep! By chance I met another stallholder on the last leg of the train journey and we shared a cheap taxi otherwise it would have been difficult trying to carry the luggage. We were amongst the first stallholders to arrive at 8.30am and it was not long before Rachel one of our volunteers arrived. With a wider range of clothing we could have done with either two tables or two clothes rails. The new hoodies and sweatshirts were available as well as the normal racewear with an increased range of sizes of the long-sleeve tops.

Near the stage we did have to endure the loud messages otherwise we were close to an exit. Our neighbours were Sea Shepherd and the Vegan Society. The increased floorspace for the festival with more rooms helped to reduce the congestion of last year. It was not long before we had our first clothing sales although trade traditionally starts slowly. This year we seemed to sell a little of almost every item but especially the non-racewear. We did bring a small number of the new club jackets for the members who had pre-ordered such as volunteer Mike Green but we ended up selling spares to volunteers Rachel Xerri-Brooks & Allan Green who could potentially both wear them at  Cannon Hill Park events. The jackets only arrived 2/3 days before the event. [Mike Green had travelled from mid-Wales, not as far as it may seem to see the event for the first time and help.]  We are in the process of distributing jackets to members who have pre-ordered otherwise there will be several spares in due course that will be announced. Member Hilary Jacob from Cumbria was there as well as regulars Diane & Adrian Wynne and Jasmijn de Boo but not working on the Vegan Society stall that was covered by volunteers.

Following previous West Midlands events, we don’t tend to recruit many new members or contacts on the day and this year was no exception with just the two new members: Phillippa Bennett and Hazel Beasley both from the East Midlands, Phillippa has previously met us at the Leicester Vegan Fair. We were again using the Parkruns to encourage participation and as a training venue given they are held weekly. The encouraging participation at the Coventry Park Run helped in particular by Paul Stimpson wearing his VRUK vest, has helped raise the profile of the club so, we were on the lookout to increase the numbers there. Leicester and East Midlands in general appears to be increasing in numbers.

My apologies to our volunteers but all of the photos taken on my camera are of me. I should have made the effort to wear the jacket for the variety or model other clothing for periods, an idea for the future or for other volunteers present. Sales were nevertheless good and far exceeded recent years given our wider range of clothing.

No time for Peter Simpson to run except on the spot.

Looking ahead we are out and about on three other stalls in the next 5 weeks with the AGM on 4 November in London.

11 November – Northants Free Vegan Food and Cruelty-Free Fair (a mouthful!), Animals-in-Need shelter, Pine Tree Farm (off A509), Little Irchester, south of Wellingborough

24 November – Compassionate Derby Fair in the town centre

2 December – Animal Aid Christmas Fair, Kensington Town Hall, London