Lord Foster adds 'Well Done' for Gherkin Challenge 2015

Lord Foster has signed prints of The Gherkin Guide to be awarded to the highest fund raising individual and team in the 2015 Gherkin Challenge for the NSPCC. This year he has added a personal 'Well Done' to his signature. We, the event steering committee, are delighted and very grateful for his support and for the communications team Foster + Partners who ensured my request reached Lord Foster. We all hope the goal of receiving one of the signed, framed one-metre prints inspires participants to reach great heights, both on the day and in their fundraising!

Maybe you'll win this year? http://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-you-can-do/events/the-gherkin-challenge/

Presenting last year's Individual Top Fundraiser, Barinder Randhawa, with her Norman Foster signed print. Gherkin Challenge 2014. Will it be you this year?

Presenting last year's Individual Top Fundraiser, Barinder Randhawa, with her Norman Foster signed print. Gherkin Challenge 2014. Will it be you this year?

The 2014 Gherkin Challenge - Registration is Open

Registration for the 2014 Gherkin Challenge for the NSPCC is open and we already have 120 participants registered. I am about to mail all of my contacts (nearest and dearest through to everyone I have ever met) to help get this year's event to be simply the best ever.

It's happening on Sunday 7th September and you can either run or walk up the stairs to the top of the Gherkin. You can be as energetic or as relaxed as you like, some people like to race up and others like to take their time and rest at each floor. (I've done it twice before and walked up both times). This year when you reach the 40th floor you can join the NSPCC Celebration Party (drinks, snacks, entertainment) and you can enjoy the Gherkin's amazing 360˚ views across London. It will be a great day, part of the 10th anniversary celebrations of an iconic building and every single step up you take will make such a big difference to vulnerable children!

Registration is now open. We are asking for a registration fee of £20 for individuals or £70 for a team of four, with a Buy-One-Get-One-Free offer available until April 17th (Simply enter the promotional code BOGOF14 when selecting tickets).  All we ask is that each participant raises a minimum of £200.  Children over 8 years of age and accompanied by an adult can take part for just £10. There is also the option of coming up to the top via the lift. A lift pass is £60 or £100 for 2, and children under 14 come with you free of charge and all can join the party! 

Most important of all is that reaching your target of £200 will mean you raise £5 for each of the Gherkin’s 40 floors and fund 50 children’s calls to ChildLine being answered. I know that fact will keep me walking up to the top (and trying to raise more to have more calls answered!) More good news is that every participant will receive an exclusive edition of ‘360° at the Gherkin’ (by yours truly) – we are adding information about the vital NSPCC services and children in London that your fundraising will help support into a special ‘10th Anniversary of the Gherkin’ edition of the book. I have also organised two signed prints of the Gherkin Guide signed by Norman Foster, and these will be presented at the Gherkin* to the higher fund raising individual and team. (*In a special presentation in October 2014).

For more information and to register your interest in this event please visit the NSPCC Gherkin Challenge website or contact  Adam Lewis at the NSPCC on 020 7825 1389 or come back to me and I will answer any questions you have! tee@teedobinson.com

I do hope I see you on the day, whether it’s just you or you and a team – it will be fantastic! Every step we take up will make such a difference to vulnerable children! Tee xxx

Tee Dobinson

London Business Board for the NSPCC 

2013 Gherkin Challenge participants

2013 Gherkin Challenge participants

Me in 2012 - having a rest at floor 27 (it really is ok to take it steadily!) 

Me in 2012 - having a rest at floor 27 (it really is ok to take it steadily!) 

Meeting Norman Foster - March 12th 2014

"So, have you met Norman Foster?" is a question I have been asked many times over my years at the Gherkin. "I've met everyone else" I would say, or I'd tell people how he gave his personal approval for the design of 'The Gherkin Guide' (from Hong Kong) and permission for us to include his photo (from Milan) - but really, it all still boiled down to no, I hadn't met him. Until today.

It came about as I had asked Foster + Partners if Lord Foster would consider signing two prints of 'The Gherkin Guide' as prizes for the NSPCC 2014 Gherkin Challenge's top fundraisers. 'We will see if Lord Foster is willing' they reply. Then later, as it appears he is, they ask me to send the prints in. I ask to be present when he signs but they tell me, while that is a lovely idea, it is sadly not possible. I tell myself I don't mind, the prints for the charity are the main thing. (I do mind of course). 

Then everything changes. Foster + Partners send an invite asking me if I would like to meet Lord Foster while he signs the prints. That will be a yes. So now I am at the Hester Road offices, I have been before and looked out for him but I found out later he wasn't even in the country that day. I am sitting with the prints at a table overlooking the river and I can see Lord Foster in a meeting at a large oval table to my right. Last night was the RIBA interview of 'The Brits Who Made the Modern World' - Foster, Rogers, Farrell, Hopkins and Grimshaw and I hear people nearby talking about it. I saw the enthralling BBC programmes and will catch the recording of the sold out interview show later. The speakers are not sure the interviewer made the most of her exalted guests, I'll have to see what I think this evening. 

Foster walks over, it's me next. He's utterly charming, apologises for keeping me waiting and is interested in the finished copy of The Gherkin Guide which he has never seen - 'Can we get more of these?' he asks - I tell him Foster + Partners already has some, 'Good' he replies. (I am outwardly calm of course, but inwardly cheering.) 

We chat some more, I tell him my friends live in one of the two Camden houses he designed in the 60s and he likes that, then we talk a little about the Gherkin and it's continual appeal and the stair climb for NSPCC, then the prints are signed (two for the fundraisers and one for me - yes, he says he happy to sign an extra one for me) then, taking his copy of The Gherkin Guide with him,  he is gone. I roll up the prints, thank everyone and leave. I am going straight to Berwick Street to put them in the hands of Chris at Soho Frames, I arrive safely and hand them over - frames, mounts and non-reflective glass already been decided upon.

"So, have you met Norman Foster?" they ask and "Yes" I reply. "I have."

                                                           Norman Foster ©Nigel Young, Foster + Partners

                                                           Norman Foster ©Nigel Young, Foster + Partners

Back at the Gherkin with the Norman Foster signed print

Back at the Gherkin with the Norman Foster signed print