Brimscombe-based charity The Long Table is being supported by sales of an unusual charity calendar – and an unexpected superhero figure.
Neil Thomas, who describes himself as a ‘retro technology tinkerer’ set up The Cave at Belvedere Mill in Chalford, a museum of computing and gaming technology tracing the evolution of the hardware from the 1970s through to the present day, and runs the RMC -The Cave YouTube channel, which boasts 151,000 subscribers from across the globe.
This year’s calendar is entitled Control Freaks, and features pictures of joysticks and game controllers submitted by viewers of Neil’s channel.
“We hope to sell around 500 copies to beat last year’s total of £5,000 which went to the Allsorts charity,” said Neil.
Will North, General Manager of The Long Table, explained: “We fund two community cafes, so £5,000 would pay for half a year’s worth of funding, and that delivers around 2,000 meals to people – it’s unbelievable.
“What’s amazing is that we have this in the same valley as the Long Table – you wouldn’t know it’s here. We talk about eating together and building communities around that, and I have so many amazing memories of playing video games with my friends, and it’s so great we are supported by so many people, particularly with this calendar.”
Visitors can book a visit to The Cave through the website, www.rmcretro.com, and equally exciting is the new Arcade Archive, based in the same building, and featuring arcade machines from the late 1960s onwards: “It’s a project to preserve the origins of video games,” said Neil.
“It’s a separate business [to The Cave], but we’ll be selling tickets so you can see the origins here and then you follow the story upstairs to the home consoles and computers – it all ties together, but if you only want to come to one or the other it’s perfectly possible to do that.”
One of Neil’s fans has immortalised him as fictional superhero Stroud Man – and he will also be helping raise funds for The Long Table.
“Stroud Man started out as a joke – one of my viewers made an action figure of me and sent him to me, and when he saw I was doing the calendar he asked if I’d like another one for fundraising.
“He’s got his apron and gloves – things I use in my episodes – so Stroud Man is being auctioned on eBay and he’s currently on £260 – that’s additional money on top of the calendar sales,” added Neil.