• A huge thank you to every single person who supported Without Wing’s first-year celebratory fundraiser in conjunction with Manx Litfest!
    • Dance of the Devil’s Snuffbox was a MASSIVE success and raised just over £600 for Without Wing’s the Manx Autoimmune Arthritis Trust.

***Also featured here: Forthcoming mooted events and projects!***

Thank you so much to everybody for helping to make Without Wing’s first anniversary celebratory fundraiser such a huge success! Due to our initial plans for a different combined Litfest event falling through at the last minute, Dance of the Devil’s Snuffbox was organised in barely six weeks. We are therefore extra specially grateful to all those incredible people – performers and audience who turned up – and dressed up! To Valerie, Ken and Edwin at the Laxey Working Mens Institute – who went above and beyond expectation to help us set up AND tidy up, to Manx Radio and Isle of Man Newspapers for all their support, Ramsey Press for all their help, Han-FX and JorDMC for lending us equipment and to the Manx Cider Co. for donating 36 pints of FREE CIDER. Everyone really chipped in to help create a memorable and enchanting evening.

First up: funds raised! In total over £750 were raised via ticket sales and the auction of framed literary works. Four items were auctioned and many, many thanks to Janet Lees, Kim Kneen, and Georgia Lisette for their beautiful additions. The auction alone raised £130 with some exciting bidding wars!

Initially it had been agreed to split all profits between Manx Litfest and Without Wings. However, Manx Litfest have very kindly insisted that Without Wings take the lion’s share – something in the region of £600 after deduction of venue hire! They didn’t need to do this, as the entire event was organised on the back of the fantastic venture that is the Manx Litfest. This charity has worked incredibly hard to promote literature on the Island and to bring out local literary talent. We really hope they were proud of what they saw last Saturday night as many of the performers met, either directly or indirectly, via Manx Litfest. So thank you SOOOOOO much guys, especially John Quirk 🙂 You are wonderful!

As for the performances! Well we can’t quite capture the atmosphere for those who missed out, but imagine a cosily lit room with candlelight, chocolates and a cabaret feel, plenty of fantastic masks and costumes (performers and audience!), a sea themed backdrop for the first half, created by Kim Kneen, and a compere – performance poet, Bill Stutt, dressed up as something truly terrifying… All leading into the most exquisite accapella sea shanty by Simon Smart – who impressed us all, not just by his haunting singing, but by his fantastic Babbadook outfit – complete with Top Hat. It is very possible that despite the utter brilliance of every single one of the acts, he stole the show!

Simon was followed by a ‘lightly’ macabre first set. This included a creepy, cane thumping tale – The Hairy Toe, by storyteller and organiser of ‘Story telling Club’, Susurro Rosso, Kim Kneen’s prize winning ‘Buitcherhagh’ (witchcraft) flash fiction, and spooky poetry and flash fiction works by another international prize winner writer, Janet Lees. These were read by Georgia Lisette, as Janet had been unable to attend at the last minute due to family illness.

Next up, we were onto the poetry! These included hilarious tales of teenage witches and society bun fights by Poetry Slam winners, 2015 and 2016 respectively – the virtuosic sisters, Lisa Creighton and Jennifer Davies. Stephen Goldsmith from ‘Short Stories and Ludicrous Tales’ also told a collection of short pieces that were both dark in tone and very funny, Bill Strutt wowed us as always with his performances, both on a poetic reflection on insomnia, and then a story about a night out in Doolish (yes – very dark indeed!), and Georgia Lisette, his fellow Feral organiser and 2013 AND 2014 poetry slam winner, performed her poem ‘Romero’ brilliantly and completely off by heart – all 6 minutes of it! And yes, the Ta Ta Taboo by Jacqueline Morrey Grace also made an appearance!

For the second set, the dark sea themed backdrop vanished and was replaced by a circus big top, the masks came off and the fun stuff began. Ben Hickey performed his story slam winning piece ‘Endurance’ and Stephen also performed some ridiculous stand up comedy! Both these performances had everyone in stitches and fitted the atmosphere perfectly. Next up was Kim Kneen with her grisly circus themed: ‘Top Billing,’ to some light musical accompaniment, and then we were onto ‘Cheese cake Wars’ – a sparring of poems by Georgia and Bill about… cheesecake! These were followed by a daft piece of beat poetry from Jackie, with Jordan Preece accompanying on beat box, and then a wonderful collaborative piece – The Last Biscuit, by sisters Jennifer and Lisa. This had been written especially for the occasion! Simon then treated us to another song before Matt Kelly arrived on the scene, strummed a few of his own songs and then roused everybody into a rowdy rendition of ‘The Laxey Wheel’ – a perfect way to almost end apart from… We couldn’t allow people to go home without the opportunity to dance off all the free cider and adrenaline, so local rap wordsmiths Han-FX and JorDMC (Keiran Hannifin and Jordan Preece), therefore took to the stage with their band and did a full set! There was LOTS of dancing!

It was truly a wonderful night. We really hope all the coverage we received helped raise awareness of these illnesses and the work of the charity, as well as funds – which of course, was what the event was really about. We’ve had a huge increase in website hits since the event and enquiries regarding our services, so it seems our efforts are paying off. We just about managed to fit everybody in last Saturday too – so ticket sales obviously just about hit the correct mark, and people are already asking when we are going to do it again! So watch this space!

Regarding the on-going work of the charity! Next up will be our education campaign. This is now going to be two-fold. Firstly, we are commissioning posters by local artist, Alice Quayle, that we want to reflect YOUR voices! These will be quirkily designed descriptions of what life with these illnesses is really like – the positives as well as the negatives. We then plan to run an awareness campaign and have these posters displayed in different places over the Winter. We are currently looking at libraries and the hospital for venues. ANY FURTHER IDEAS OF OFFERS OF CONTRIBUTION PLEASE GET IN CONTACT! The other part of our campaign will be a drawing up of our precise services. These will be delivered to all GPs and also physical rehabilitation centres and complementary health care practitioners. It is via these people that the services we are now in a position to offer, can be most effectively promoted to ensure that our money is spent where it is most needed. We hope to be running this campaign with the support of one of the MHKs. YOUR VOICES ARE VALUABLE. Please let us know as soon as possible if you would like to be involved.

2018! We will shortly be drawing up our 2018 calendar. So far this includes : a complementary health fair in March (details coming VERY SOON!), a JIA awareness raising day in May, mental health and chronic illness awareness possibly also in March AND! On July 22nd 2018, we are very excited to say that we are hoping to be welcoming two more speakers who have worked hard to recover naturally from these illnesses via diet and exercise! We are currently waiting on confirmation but we are looking at hearing from two lovely, lovely young ladies – as promised! To hear natural healing from a female perspective. Both these ladies also use the Paddison Programme for Rheumatoid Arthritis. Danny and Andy are also planning to return, but in a supportive role and just because they fell in love with the Island (naturally), and there is one more very special person who is very very VERY keen to come but can’t commit just yet… Come on though Clint Paddison! The Isle of Man needs you! If not next year I am SURE we will get him over at some point!

So all in all, very busy. Hopefully one day people with these illnesses on the Isle of Man will be getting diagnosed earlier, feel better understood, more positive, better supported, and receiving the help they need and deserve.