We all know how when you’re travelling you just want to get from A to B and charity fundraisers in the way can be annoying – but one of the most enjoyable couple of hours I think I’ve had in my lengthy time at World Cancer Research Fund was spent helping the fundraising team at St Pancras station in London on a cold February evening. What with staff sickness, train strikes and tech worries about whether our card-readers would play ball, it didn’t look promising. Who knew that standing on a chilly concourse trying to get people to part with their cash in a cost-of-living crisis would be the best ticket in town!
But that was before we laid eyes on our support act, the magnificent Popchoir whose cheery purple T-shirted members were already gathering. The Vocal Director, Helen Hampton, put her first crew together back in 2008 and there are now choirs singing right across southern England. They are doing incredible work, not just in terms of having a good time themselves, but supporting charities and good causes. Helen clearly leads from the front and energy levels are right off the scale!
Their two-hour routine absolutely rocked St Pancras and left all of us who participated in a fuzz of joyfulness that weeks later still hasn’t lifted. It was just one of those evenings when we felt like we were part of something very special.
On this occasion about 50 strong, the Popchoir presence filled the International terminal. As they blazed through a catalogue of favourite hits, the sheer joie de vivre was infectious. Everyone was smiling and singing along. People were emerging from the tube having heard the music and were barely through the barriers before getting their wallets out! There was something for everyone; Kylie, Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, Abba, Disney classics – even a bit of 70s rock from Rainbow. Best of all were the big anthems when the choir swayed as one joyous pulsating purple mass at St Pancras. Some spectators had a little dance or stood around for a while and enjoyed the show, others passed through, but everyone was grinning and clearly appreciating this uplifting diversion to their commute.
Shaking to the rhythm
The combination of a great sound, a collective buzz and a good cause are truly unbeatable. We didn’t have to ask too hard, just shook our buckets to the rhythm of the tunes and the donations rolled in. I could hardly hold my bucket by the end it was so heavy! Everyone was just so generous and it was because they loved what they saw. We also had a big stash of our wonderful publications and health info leaflets to give out. Nice to be able to give someone a recipe book to peruse on the way home.
As for shaking the bucket, obviously I did a lot of thanking people as they kindly supported our work but what struck me was how many people thanked me in response – we were all out on a chilly night and I felt immensely proud to be a charity fundraiser, doing my little bit to make the world a better place (cue Michael Jackson) and wearing my new World Cancer Research Fund T-shirt! It was hard work for sure but with Popchoir support, pretty effortless… Thanks guys, you are truly inspirational and I really can’t wait to do it all over again!
If you represent a business and would like to support our work, get in touch with SJ Hill, our Fundraising Partnerships Manager.
> Find out more about Popchoir
> Watch us shaking our buckets (TikTok)