When Liz Swanton left her home as Freddie For A Day on Tuesday 11th May, little did she, or any of us, realise what this was to become. She set out to raise money for the Mercury Phoenix Trust and show others how easy it is to use Just Giving. In the process she showed all of us at the MPT quite what a hands-on, cool editor we have… and what a brainwave of an idea FFAD is.
We launched FFAD relatively late, with www.freddieforaday.com
going live at the end of July for an event due to take place on September 3rd. But with the help of Queen Online and a fantastic â€˜Freddie Yourselfâ€™ video application, we were confident that we would get the word out in time.
However we never imagined weâ€™d get the sort of response that we did. Photos and stories have come in from the UK, Spain, Germany, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, the US, Italy, Ukraine, Austria, Sweden, Japan, Mexico, Portugal, Poland, New Zealand, Holland, Denmark and Russia. Fan clubs around the world have embraced the idea, particularly in South America with rockinâ€™ parties taking place in Brazil and Argentina.
We have posted lots of the pics in a gallery on www.freddieforaday.com
, â€˜Freddie For A Day: Photos from around the worldâ€™. We have also created a special gallery in the NEWS section called â€˜My Freddie For A Day: Experiences of a day spent as Freddie Mercuryâ€™, with accounts from people who spent the whole day as Freddie. These are wonderful reading as they recount more than just an event, and often have insights into the way the public react or the fun and feel good factor that can come with fundraising in such a wacky way.
Everyone celebrated FFAD in their own way. Some people sent us pictures strutting their stuff at home, singing into a mic in their bedroom. Others went a step further and decided to go out and about as Freddie. And a brave few took the plunge and spent the whole day as Freddie.
Costumes were amazing and deciding the outcome of the FFAD competition was very hard. The â€˜Diana Moseley Best Costume Prizeâ€™ went to Anna Vigorito who not only made her costume but also photographed herself as Slightly Mad Freddie at the local mall and then at Columbus Zoo in Ohio with a penguin and a gorilla. Scooby Rigby-Wharton was Highly Commended in the same category, a self-professed â€˜suited and booted kinda girlâ€™ she hadnâ€™t worn girls clothes for 30 years and chose to be Freddie in drag as it was so far from what she usually looks like. The â€˜Freddie in Most Original Location Prizeâ€™ went to Katharine Gale having a blood test as Leather Freddie, and Sabrina Khenfer was Highly Commended with her TGV trip from France to Switzerland dressed in a harlequin leotard.
Stas Sagdeyev went into the State Music Academy in Odessa, Ukraine and practically highjacked students and staff, even getting the Rector to make a donation. He ended his day with an impromptu acoustic performance of â€˜Love Of My Lifeâ€™ in the Odessa City Gardens. Kimberly Kristiansson in Sweden dressed as Break Free Freddie going as far as using brown contact lenses and false teeth, doing interviews with a local radio station and newspapers before going to work. Not easy to pull off being a woman dressed like a man trying to dress like a woman! Christian Bethge in Mannheim, Germany, couldnâ€™t believe how much fun he had and found that people donated in order to take a photo with him. Upcoming UK band Yellow Wire managed to carry out the feat of surfing dressed as Freddie. Even Freddieâ€™s mum Jer Bulsara took part as guest of honour at a Queen tribute gig in Nottingham, England.
We received huge support from Hard Rock CafÃ©s around Germany and in Berlin the manager and head waiter dressed up. The O2â€™s British Music Experience in London celebrated in style with staff and visitors dressed as Freddie for a recreation of the I Want To Break Free video. Complete with moustaches and hoovers, the flash mob included staff who had gone as far as shaving beards to leave moustaches. The various We Will Rock You productions also got into the spirit, with Jim Beach and various members of the Austrian Queen Fan Club attending the opening night of WWRY Utrecht dressed as Freddie and WWRY Sweden holding a collection for the MPT headed up by Katarina Kranz and lots of other Freddies. The entire cast of WWRY Spain 2003-2008 staged a FFAD tribute concert in Madrid on September 20th.
A huge thank you to all of you who participated. Seeing your overwhelming support for the MPT and the work we that do, your willingness to go the whole hog and spend the day as Freddie and also the lasting love and admiration that is out there for Freddie has been a source of great inspiration to us. We have to admit to having shed the odd tear with stories like the â€˜Freddieâ€™ who raised a glass of vodka after a hard day spent as Freddie For A Day, with the words â€œCheers Freddie, I done it for youâ€.
More importantly, we have raised a lot of money for the MPT (offline donations are still coming in so we canâ€™t yet give you the exact amount) with which we will continue supporting the grass roots HIV/AIDS charities that we believe in so passionately.
So here we go: we at the MPT hereby pledge to keep this amazing event going, year after yearâ€¦and are looking forward to seeing you all out there in your Freddie regalia next year!