Busk 8: Every cloud has a silver lining

It was a treat to have a mini break to Seahouses to do my busk in Northumberland for the second time. This time there was glorious sunshine, with a light sea breeze, and plenty of people – perfect for a mid morning busk.

As well as the sunshine, I had treated myself to some new music. I have to admit that Frozen’s ‘Let It Go’ was amongst the renditions, but I drew the line at playing some Taylor Swift. This was balanced out by my book of 50 well known classical pieces. I did also get asked to play like Jethro Tull – luckily the balance part of the zumba class that I go too prepared me for standing on one leg.

We were raising money for the Seahouses Development Trust – so they could buy some new books for their library. They tend to get the leftovers or not be able to restock as much as they would like. We got just over £42, which means we have been able to give £190 in total towards their new reading material.

A few weeks’ rest before returning to local fundraising in Leicester.


Busk 7: Cheltenham

Only six days separated the Market Bosworth and Cheltenham busks and the sunshine followed too. This time I was raising money for Leckhampton Court Hospice in memory of a friend’s mother who died last year. Such worthy causes make the travel across the country worth it.

A volunteer from the Hospice stopped by during the busk and kindly took some photos of me which he emailed to me later that day – thank you John!

The best bit about Cheltenham was that we raised just over £93 meaning that since the start of the challenge over £1000 has been donated to charity. This was my original target for the year – infact, to start off with I didn’t even have a target! So let’s see how much we can raise by December.

The kind folks at Cardiomyopathy UK also sent me a thank you certificate, mug and pin badge. There are lots of good people in the world.

cardio gifts

Later on in the month I am back to Seahouses – where I had to cancel my March busk, followed by a few weeks off before returning to Leicester for the next one.




Busk 6: Market Bosworth

The Friday before my busk I got a call from BBC Radio Leicester who wanted to hear how I was getting on. On the Saturday I was on a flute course, so huddled in a practice room talking to the lovely presenter, Emma. It’s been great to have their support since I visited them in person in January.

After a thunderstorm overnight I woke up nervous as to how to this busk would go. However, I need not have worried as by the time I was driving across the county to Market Bosworth the sun was shining. Infact, it was the only busk so far where I have got sunburnt.

This time the busk was at a farmers’ market – great to see lots of people milling around from the beginning. I was doing two one-hour stints, with a break in between – the longest busk to date. I had some fun conversations with people – someone wished they lived next door to me to hear me play (they might regret saying that if they ever hear my piccolo practice), someone else was going on a birthday lunch so I started to serenade them with ‘Happy Birthday’ and one of the traders requested ‘Annie’s Song’. The break was welcomed and my partner and happily munched through hot dogs in the sunshine.

We were raising money for Cardiomyopathy UK: my neighbour’s nephew suffers from the condition. He had already ran the London Marathon and I was looking forward to topping up his efforts. We raised £170 so means I am hoping to break my original £1,000 target in Cheltenham next weekend on 2 June. You can also donate directly to my neighbour’s Virgin Money Giving page.



Cats, Christmas and a lot of books

Fundraising challenge news is like buses – they all come at once!

Here are a few updates from fundraising HQ.

Cats are cute

I visited Leicester Animal Aid recently – I’ll be busking for them in November and was excited to see the good work they do in person. Who could resist an opportunity to see some cute critters? Although the busk isn’t until November, I’ve set up a JustGiving page as some people wanted to donate online to help.

We’ve got a full house

No, not of cats, however tempting that was after visiting Leicester Animal Aid, but of busks. The December busk has now been confirmed – come and say hello at Woodlands Garden Centre, Stapleton, when I complete my busking challenge, raising money for Marie Curie. It’s on 22 December between 11.00am and 12.30pm, with Christmas carols aplenty. They also have a cafe with great scones!

Books and busking retakes

It’s great to see how the busking funding has been used. You might remember that I tried to busk in Seahouses on 31 March but the English weather prevented me doing so. We still managed to give the Seahouses Development Trust £150 and they have shared with me how they have spent it: “We have chosen three books of local interest, that will stay in the library for people to look at when visiting, a couple of books by a local author – Sebastian Swan (David Mattches) and a variety of thrillers and summer reading books.  We are awaiting delivery of three new releases, which should be with us this month and still have a small amount of money, which we will spend as soon as possible.”


I am also pleased to be heading back on 23 June to redo my Seahouses busk.

Fundraising on track

Thanks to you, I have now given over £725 to charity – we’re looking on target to reach the £1,000 I’d hope to reach by the end of the year.




Busk 5: Market Harborough

The weather gods took pity on us as busk 5 took place in glorious sunshine in Market Harborough, with picturesque sunshine that turned out to be the start of a heatwave.

This was a fun busk – one of my favourite things about it was the support I got from family, friends and fellow GBRT (the charity I was raising money for) members. I have my usual busking buddies that come with me to each busk to shake buckets but it is always incredibly special for me that people take time out of their day to come and say hi, and often, help with the effort for a good 20 minutes or more.

A unique moment was the Disney singalong/playalong that took place as a finale to the busk.

We raised £121.50 for the Great Bowden Recital Trust to help others have the opportunity to be involved with music in the Leicestershire and Northamptonshire communities.


Busk 4: Seahouses

Unfortunately, due to poor weather, I had to postpone the March busk in Seahouses for the Seahouses Development Trust.

Postponed busk March

The great news is that due to the generosity of friends and family I was today able to donate £150 to Seahouses Development Trust so they can purchase some new books for their library. I visited them last week and was very impressed with the facilities they offer their local community.

I am rearranging the Seahouses busk for the summer and will update the busking diary when I have a new date.

Busking, Uncategorized

Northern notes


It’s great to be in Seahouses before my most northerly busk on Saturday. The shopkeepers have been kindly putting up my posters in the windows and I hope to visit the Seahouses Development Trust, the charity I am raising for, in the next few days.

My partner has been a fantastic support on this flute playing journey – most notably, shaking fundraising buckets and taking photos. We took advantage of a sunny day, the beautiful scenery of Bamburgh beach and the drone to take some photos and a video. It was a beautiful experience, playing with the sun warming my face, the relaxing sounds of the waves and a castle in the background. I decided to play to a little bird asleep on a rock – it seemed to enjoy Brian Boru’s March!



Busk 3: Histon / The ‘freezing flautist’

The day of busk three started with getting up for a 7.10am interview on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire. They called me just before 7.00am and I could hear them discussing on air before I started my interview. They were very concerned I’d be the ‘freezing flautist’ with it being cold in Histon. You can listen from 1:09:02.

Luckily, BBC Cambridgeshire’s prediction was not correct as we pitched up in a sun trap outside Tesco, which made busking for an hour really quite enjoyable. This time we were raising money for the Alzheimer’s Society as my grandad lived in Histon and suffered from dementia at the end of his life. He was very supportive of my music-making, buying me my first flute, coming to concerts and always sharing his encouragement. He also enjoyed Andre Rieu’s love for music.


The people of Histon were very generous; we discovered my busk had even been announced at the local WI meeting! In just an hour we raised £205, which surpassed all of my expectations.

So, what’s next? At the end of March I’ll be in Northumberland raising money to get more books for the Seahouses Development Trust. I’m also pleased to announce that I’ll be at Market Bosworth Farmers’ Market on 27 May, raising money for Cardiomyopathy UK, helping my neighbour, Chris.


Busk 2: Leicester

Date: 28 January 2018
Supporting: Leicester Royal Infirmary’s neonatal unit (Leicester Hospitals Charity)


With accompaniment from a pneumatic drill, beautiful blue skies and sunshine busk number two was completed in Leicester city centre.

As mentioned in an earlier post, I was born eleven weeks premature at Leicester Royal Infirmary, so the neonatal unit was an obvious choice to fundraise for.

A photographer from the Leicester Mercury also came to take photos and a video, so I’ll be keeping an eye out to see where those end up.

In total £70.87 was raised in just an hour – thank you people of Leicester.

If you missed me today, I’ll be in Market Harborough on 14 April and Queens Road, Leicester on 28 July. Keep up to date by following my busking diary. 


Fundraising flautist on BBC Radio Leicester

This week has been an exciting week for the project, receiving licences from various councils giving me permission me to do several busks (check out my busking diary for details). However, the highlight was appearing on BBC Radio Leicester this morning.

When I was in Sidmouth, it was amazing how many people said “I saw you in the paper“, so I was delighted to have the opportunity to talk with Emma Boydell on BBC Radio Leicester this morning before my second busk next week. You can listen online from 2:40:18, including a cheeky rendition of ‘Danny Boy’. I challenged Leicester to see if they could beat the £150 target set by the Sidmouth community and also challenge you to take action on your own dream. The podcast that I mentioned was the Why Not Now? podcast by Amy-Jo Martin.

BBC Radio Leciester-1

My next busk is near to the Clock Tower in Leicester, 28 January, between 11am and 12noon, where I am raising money for Leicester Royal Infirmary’s neonatal unit. I was born eleven weeks premature with my twin Jenny and I wouldn’t be here today without their care and expertise.

Nicola NNU