The Lord Mayors Show, London 2012

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At the beginning of September I got a phone call from Australia, from Adrain McRae, the man behind the Wings of Kilimanjaro project. (A world first project that at the end of Jan next year will see up to 200 adventure philanthropists, including me, climb and attempt to fly from the roof of Africa raising over One Million dollars for Tanzanian charities.)

Adrian told me that Wings of Kilimanjaro had been offered the chance to enter a float in the prestigious Lord Mayors Show in London… on the 10th Novemeber… in less than 10 weeks time!

He wanted to know if I thought we should do it and if so, could I head the project up?  Oh and could I decide right away!  Obviously in these situations it’s important to just say yes and figure out the finer details later.

After saying yes I spent sometime wishing that I hadn’t.. then set about wondering how on earth one builds a float for the Lord Mayors Show?

Thank goodness for other people (you know who you are!) who set me off on the right track, offered help and made things happen.

One thing that happened was I was put in touch with Jane Ripley of Ripley & Friends and after a quick chat about what we thought would be nice to do for a float, Jane went away and the next morning sent me this design.

You see we thought it would be brilliant to build a mountain!

Jane Ripley’s hand drawn design for the Wings of Kilimanjaro float

When I received this I thought two things; that’s amazing and I’m not sure it’s possible?!

Apparently is was possible…

“If something is wrong or goes wrong but you have the right people around you, you can make anything work” were some of the first words Carl Robertshaw said to me as I looked in delighted amazement the first time I saw our mountain and we were working out how we’d actually make this all come together for the Lord Mayors Show (which was in two days time).  You see not long previously Jane had received a call to say the truck Stuart Wilbraham (from London Reclaimed Brick Merchants) was lending us for the parade had broken down and we would not be able to borrow it.

Fortunately Stuart was still able to help and did find a solution.  A bigger truck!  The beautiful old Bedford was not only a solution but also a fantastic back up plan, if all else had failed we could have just driven that through the parade!  The issue we now had was the truck was too big and we weren’t even sure if the mountain would fit over it.

Which brings me back to Carl’s words.

“If something is wrong or goes wrong but you have the right people around you, you can make anything work”

Soon with a little modification, sleepless nights and reassurance from our mountain creators it became apparent that we could make it work and that we would also have the largest float the parade had ever seen!!!

From the very beginning of this project I’ve been humbled by the people who have got involved, helped and ultimately made this happen; from a friend who reassured me at the start of all this that it was doable, to the creators of the float, to the volunteers who moved our mountain on the day.  You all played a very significant part and I am so grateful to you all.

Thank you.

If you missed our float on the day, you can see us here on BBC One!  The Lord Mayors Show

Should you find yourself needing to build a float or create something amazing I can highly recommend these people!

Jane Ripley Ripley & Friends

Carl Robertshaw  Kite Related Design

Russell Beck  Props Model Sculpture Design

Mike Paragliding & Kite Workshop

Stuart Wilbraham from London Reclaimed Brick Merchants (The Bedford truck was curtsy of Stuart!)