Thursday, 29 May 2014

A Floating 'Everything Stops for Tea' Party

Every year we take our narrowboat, Kingfisher, to the Rickmansworth Canal Festival. It’s a wonderful event and hundreds of narrowboats attend. Our friends love coming up to see the beautifully decorated boats, the historic working boats, the boat tug-of-war and the many bands and artists that perform on the various stages.

Because so many people love to visit us over the weekend, I thought it would be the ideal time to test out my baking skills (!) and raise a bit of money for Missing People.

I got my preparations done on Friday – hanging up bunting, blowing up balloons and baking loads of tasty treats. I don’t usually bake anything, ever, so I was a little bit nervous that not everything would work. I hit my first hurdle when I couldn’t find the measuring jug anywhere. Luckily boaters are a friendly bunch so a quick visit to a neighbouring boat sorted that one out. (I made sure to thank them with some of the resultant cake!)

I must have chosen particularly reliable recipes, because everything turned out brilliantly. We had pistachio and cardamom brownies, rocky road, banana and blueberry muffins, brownie muffins, peach, apricot and almond muffins and a tea loaf. I also coated some strawberries with chocolate, and coated some frozen bananas with chocolate and flaked almonds.

People started arriving at 11.30. A mixture of other boaters, friends and family turned up. Even one of the local fuel boaters stopped for tea and rocky road in the middle of delivering gas and diesel to the boats moored two and three abreast up the towpath. There isn’t a huge amount of space on the boat, but people crammed in where they could – on the roof, in the bow deck, on the neighbours’ boat, on the towpath… 

All the guests were keen to learn more about the work of the charity. I was able to tell them about the range of circumstances in which people go missing, the variety of reasons, the work we do to support families left behind, the campaigns and lobbying we do to influence change, the 24 hour help we can provide to young people who’ve run away and the things we can do to help people reconnect. Some of our guests had their own experiences of missing – either they knew someone who had been missing, or they’d run away themselves in the past.

I had been a little nervous about asking people for money; after all it’s not what you normally do when you have a friend round for tea. I shouldn’t have worried though – everyone was enthusiastic and generous in their giving. At the end of the event I was thrilled to find out that we’d raised over £90 in total.

I really enjoyed hosting my Everything Stops for Tea party, and would really recommend other people try it too. It’s a lovely excuse to spend some time with friends and not only does it raise money, but it also helps to spread the word about Missing People. Hopefully my guests will stay involved in future, and help to spread missing person appeals as far as they can.


You can register to host an Everything Stops for Teaparty by visiting the Missing People website – you’ll be able to download bunting, posters, invitations, recipes and more. I hope you really enjoy hosting your party. 

Penned by Lucy Holmes
Research Manager at Missing People

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Around 250,000 people go missing in the UK each year. The Missing Blog aims to give a voice to all those affected by this issue.

Written by families and friends of missing people, supporters working to raise awareness of the cause, and volunteers and staff at the charity Missing People, we hope that this blog will offer a window into the issue of missing.

The charity Missing People is a lifeline when someone disappears. To find out more about Missing People and ways that you can support the charity visit www.missingpeople.org.uk.

Call or txt the charity Missing People for free on 116 000, 24/7 if you or anyone you know is affected by a disappearance.