I left the meeting buoyed up with the enthusiasm and support of everyone who'd turned out, and bursting with plans. I was awash with half complete funding bids and grand ideas for building on the success of last year's festival.
Unfortunately life had other plans. The next day my dad was taken seriously ill, and died soon after in hospital. In the following weeks, family became my first priority, and lots of Prestwich Book Festival business didn't happen. Funding bids weren't completed or submitted.
However the lovely people on the newly formed committee rallied round. When I was ready to start thinking about the Book Festival again, Sherry Ashworth and Sarah Howells presented me with their fabulous plans for a day of author events at Prestwich Library on June 2 (it's called Booked Up). David Stanley quietly offered support for our ideas to run a mini children's book festival at Prestwich Clough Day on May 18. Sheila Mottershead sold some of her own books and raised more than £100!
Apart from that though, our coffers were empty so we decided to try an online 'crowdfunding' campaign to raise cash. It was a bit of a gamble as crowdfunding - or online fundraising - is a relatively new thing, and none of us had any experience. But Emma Farrer made a video for the campaign (you have to have a video for crowdfunding!) and we were ready to go.
I launched the campaign - to raise £1000 for a mini children's book festival on May 18 - on the evening of Saturday 5 April. In 24 hours, people had donated more than £250. As I write on Tuesday 8 April, we've just reached £500, and the amount is steadily climbing. I've been really overwhelmed by people's generosity.
Today the kind people at the Oak St Cafe Bar have made supporters of the Prestwich Book Festival a lovely offer: if you donate £30 to the crowdfunding campaign, they will give you a free meal for two up to the value of £30. it's available to the first 5 people to claim this perk. To claim this perk, visit the crowdfunding site and donate £30: http://igg.me/at/pbf14/x/6766474