Saturday, 5 December 2009

On Cloud Number 10....

Ok so the title is a clue...

Not on cloud 9, even higher... I am on Cloud Number 10.

Let me explain. I shall go back a couple of weeks when I got a message on twitter (I'm @thegiftoflife, if you are interested) from the Prime Minister's wife the lovely Sarah Brown (@SarahBrown10). The message said can I please have your postal address as I would like to send you something... of course I obliged, wondering what it would be? I did not for one second think it would be an invite to Downing Street but that is EXACTLY what it was!

An invite for little old me to go to Number 10! I couldn't believe it, but there it was in black and white!

It was an invite from Sarah to her Downing "Tweet" party in support of the Million Mums campaign by the White Ribbon Alliance. If you haven't checked out the website, do so here. It is a great cause and aims to prevent the deaths of women in childbirth as one woman dies every minute of every day somewhere in the world due to pregnancy or birth complications. So please show your support.

Back to the evening! My parents kindly drove me down and we met up with my Battlefront Mentor Oli Barrett (@OliBarrett on twitter) who was as lovely as ever, bought us champagne and we got chatting about next steps for the Gift of Life campaign.

Oli is an old hand at going to Downing Street and so talked me through all the security stages... I think he could tell I was nervous but so ecstatic to be there! We knocked on the big black door (not before Oli did one last tweet) and then we were in, handing our phones in and people kindly taking our coats.

We headed up the famous staircase with all the past Prime Ministers pictures adorning it (Yes it was just like Love Actually) We entered the Pillared Room where the networking began and who best to show me the ropes than Oli himself! It didn't take me long to spot my good friend Emily Thackray and photographer Sarah Milne. I was a bit nervous about being in a room full of complete strangers but soon got into the swing of things (with the help of a few glasses of wine). I had been twittering with a few people that were also going to be there, including the fab Henry Elliss (@HenWeb) and so it was great to meet in person! You should check out this blog of his, where he is collating all the pictures and blogs from the night. One of the highlights for me was Beverley Knight (@Beverleyknight) singing "Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda" (one of my favourite songs of all time) and "Gold" barely 6 feet away from me, with no mic. It gave me goosebumps and brought tears to my eyes. I couldn't wait to meet her, she was so lovely gave me a hug and a kiss, she was so down to earth!

Of course THE highlight of the night was speaking with Sarah herself and her husband, Prime Minister Gordon Brown and inevitably we talked about Organ Donation! We posed for a photograph, which is something to treasure and definitely deserves a frame! (Although I do look like a child in a sweet shop, I really was that excited).

At various points throughout the night, it came back to me where I was, I still can't actually believe it all happened! Things like this don't happen to Holly Shaw from Warrington! It was THE most amazing night I have EVER had! I was mingling with stars, MPs, journalists, business people and entrepreneurs!

The famous people I met included...

Dr Christian Jessen (Embarassing Illnesses Ch 4)
Kirstie Alsop (Location, Location,Location)
Claudia Winkleman
Krishnan Guru-Murthy
Richard Bacon
Brian Friedman (Cheoreographer from X Factor)
Peter Serafinowicz (Who is now following me on Twitter!)

My confidence grew throughout the night, I actually approached Peter at the end myself (yes we are on first name terms now! Ha!) and told him that I had to say Hi before he left! At one point I was having a conversation with 5 other (lovely) people that were complete strangers. They were asking me about my campaign and were geninuly interested in it which was fantastic. I would never have had the confidence to do this before! I did find that I introduced myself almost as Holly "Kidney Transplant" Shaw, however it was a great conversation starter and a way to get talking about my campaign! It was great meeting the celebrities from the night, but I feel that the other connections I made whilst at Number 10 are people that I may be able to call friends or colleagues in the future. I hope they might be able to help me out on Donor Day 2010 and one day I may even be able to return the favour!

I can't believe the path my life is taking, yes kidney failure is a rough hand to be dealt but I'm not going to let it stand in the way of what I want to do. I wonder what direction I would have gone in otherwise? I wouldn't have met all these wonderful people, I wouldn't have been given the opportunities I have been given and most importantly I wouldn't be the person I am today! (Little old Holly Shaw from Warrington)


  1. Thats fantastic that you all had such a great time and a chance to raise awareness with high profile folk! I bet there's more gossip tho! Lol! xxx

  2. Glad to hear that you had such an amazing night Holly :D

    Take care,
    Moll x x

  3. I remember when we first got to know you and you were sooooo scared of doing anything in the limelight that you wouldn't even answer the phone to journalists yourself hehe! And when I found out about Battlefront and said you should go for it and you were so nervous you didn't know what to write about yourself! Now look at you!!! Just a couple of years on and you are sashaying around No 10 networking and socialising like a pro...such a star!!! :o)Thanks for this blog, really made me feel like I was there and I'm so glad you had a fab time. What's next? Buckingham Palace and afternoon tea with Queenie perhaps??? Hehe! You're an awesome ambassador for organ donation and a seriously cool person. And yes, you can pay me later :p xxxx

    P.S: Did Brian F have his hoodie on? ;o) x

  4. No he looked very dapper! Had a suit on! Will post some more pics later...

    And Emmie I may have been a bit tipsy when I left and spoke to my brother on the phone... I may have accidentally called Downing Street Buckingham Palace! haha! x

  5. Sounds like you girls had an amazing, Very much deserved night out !!

    I have to ask though...are all three of you just short, or Are Sarah and Gordon really tall....

  6. Hey Hol,

    Great write-up!

    We are soooooo proud of you here at LLTGL and think you totally amazing!!!

    Lots of love, Jen x

  7. Wow! It looks as though you had a super time at the party.

    It's really great that you are raising awareness of organ donation. Do you know about the current NHS organ donation campaign? We thought you might be interested in 'Save the Tin Man' , designed to encourage people to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register. Hope you like it, and do pass it on!