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Trainee Challenge stage 3: Sleep

On Friday 11 October, 13 trainees and NQs were joined by Iain Blatherwick and Declan Vaughan to give up their home comforts and sleep under the stars to raise money for five incredible charities.

31 October 2019

On Friday 11 October, 13 trainees and NQs were joined by Iain Blatherwick and Declan Vaughan to give up their home comforts and sleep under the stars to raise money for five incredible charities:

The success of the previous two legs of the challenge had meant our initial £7,000 target had already been met and exceeded. So the pressure was on to not only complete the trilogy of challenges but to now meet the new increased target of £10,000!

After days of rain, stories of wildlife in the garden and the mercury falling, nerves about the challenge began to creep in! With the risk assessments and long-range weather forecast watching complete, all that was left to do was to raise £3,000 in two weeks…

Partners across the firm teamed up, floors were walked (twice) and families and friends were pestered for donations for a third time. Amazingly, the third leg of the trainee challenge began with confirmation that the second ambitious £10,000 target had been smashed!

The challenge began at 6pm with a race to claim a patch of real estate in the garden outside our No.44 Café in Nottingham, that would be home for the night (on a side note - an excellent study in human behaviour!) Patches of concrete and decking were marked out with cardboard, sleeping bags and umbrellas were strategically placed and layers were doubled. We then contemplated how we would pass the remaining 11 hours and 34 minutes. In stepped Browne Jacobson’s answer to Ant and Dec - Iain and Declan! Both agreed to take part in a Q&A session that even Michael Parkinson would have been proud of. This was primarily to pass the time but also a good ice-breaker and a way get to know everyone better.


Now there is a saying I’m sure most of you have heard that “what goes on tour stays on tour”, so I’m not about to list here the questions and answers from that session, but I will say it was brilliant with a lot of insight, anecdotes, jokes and even a magic show! It’s safe to say that we all came away having learnt a little more about one another and reassured that Browne Jacobson has a very clear grip on values, culture and direction that makes the firm different from the rest.

The first half of the evening passed relatively quickly and smoothly with a sense of friendship and everyone in good spirits, but what struck us the most was how long the nights can be! Time can pass really slowly when you’re cold and in the dark…

At around midnight Caroline Green appeared bringing well wishes and half a cake she had taken from a party she had attended earlier in the evening. It was a welcome distraction and I haven’t met anyone in this firm that has ever said no to cake! As you can imagine, that went down a treat (thank you to Susan Mabbott the star baker!).

As the night turned colder and darker, some people retired to “bed” and time seemed to stand still. Watches were checked and re-checked and there was still a lot of sand in the hour glass, which meant a lot of time to reflect and appreciate.

The night, whilst long, uncomfortable and cold, paled in comparison to the reality many face daily. But it allowed us to catch a brief glimpse of the struggles and loneliness many endure, whilst we all got to return to our homes, families and loved ones at 6am (some of us feeling every one of our 21-plus-50% years).

Personally, the sleep-out was made bearable by the company I shared and the friendships that were formed. It would have been a very different tale to tell had these things not been present.

Looking back at the whole trainee challenge, thanks to the extraordinary generosity of colleagues, friends and family we’ve managed to raise a whopping £11,102.25 for our 5 charity partners! This is an incredible achievement and will hopefully make a huge difference to all the recipients. I am incredibly proud to be part of the trainee group that set and completed these challenges and, behalf of the trainees, I would like to thank everyone that took part and everyone that donated (and donated again)!



Mark Hickson

Head of Business Development

+44 (0)370 270 6000

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