We have a guest writer for today’s blog post. Meet Jacqui Scott, our Head of Fundraising and Communications. If you have spotted some of our rather excited Tweets and Facebook posts recently, you’ll know that the rather wonderful Alan Bennett has recorded an appeal for us for the BBC Radio4 Appeal show to be broadcast on Sunday 19th June.
Jacqui was lucky enough to accompany him to the Radio 4 studios to record his appeal and this is her account of the day.
“Two sentences that any fundraiser just has to be over the moon to receive:
“Further to your application for a broadcast appeal, I am writing to advise you that, on the recommendation of its Appeals Advisory Committee, the BBC has pleasure in offering you a Radio 4 Appeal”
in an email from the BBC. And…
“Yes, I think I could do that” from hugely respected author and playwright, Alan Bennett, in response to my nervous, carefully worded letter asking if he would consider presenting the appeal.
This morning I had the great pleasure of accompanying Mr Alan Bennett to Broadcasting House to record our BBC Radio 4 Appeal, which will be first broadcast on Sunday 19th June (and if that’s a bit early for you, don’t worry, it will be broadcast twice more, and of course, is available on listen again from the BBC Radio 4 Appeal website).
I’m a huge Alan Bennett fan, but had never met him in person, so I aimed not to be a quivering, embarrassed groupy wreck when we met (of course, I’m not quite sure that I managed to achieve the cool, distant-yet-interested thing I’ve been trying to perfect for the past 40 years). The odd thing about meeting celebrities that you have followed, is that of course, you know “stuff” about them, and you can feel like they are already your friend, but of course, they know nothing about you – you have to pinch yourself once in a while. (Charmingly, Arthur Smith was leaving Broadcasting House when we arrived, and introduced himself to Alan Bennett – so I suspect all those feelings are not entirely restricted to the great unwashed like me!).
The recording itself was such an interesting process, and so professional – I can’t speak highly enough of the BBC staff, and of course, Mr Bennett himself. I know they live and breath this, but I found the way the BBC and Alan Bennett communicated so easily, really fascinating – a shared language of Broadcast! I’d never been in a radio studio (although I have been in several TV studios which are a whole different beast!). I liked the strange intimacy achieved with two small soundproofed rooms that are connected by a window – and some amazing technology.
But, at the end of the day, all I can do I now is to keep my fingers crossed and hope above hope that the appeal we recorded today will do the trick. Every £2 we raise through this appeal will enable Book Aid International to send one more book. I don’t even want to try to predict how much the support of Britain’s best-loved living playwright can do for us, and the amazing work our partners are achieving with the books we send, but I can plead that everyone reading this clicks on share, and helps get our message – that books change lives – out there.”