One of the most ubiquitous aspects of any event in a political party is the Christmas Raffle. Some now coalesce to form mega-raffles across their area and others buy into national raffles that have better prizes than any local party can offer.
But, a local party with thousands of members like North Cornwall in the 1960s was quite capable of organising such a raffle, and capable of raising a lot of money as a consequence.
The Liberal MP at the time, John Pardoe, in a rushed arrival to the big event of the Christmas Bingo and Raffle draw was asked at the door if he would like to buy any last minute raffle tickets. Knowing he hadn’t already bought any the MP duly plucked a crisp £10 note from his wallet and handed it to the fundraiser.
The evening went well and the time came for the raffle to be drawn. Mr Pardoe, as local MP, was expected to be the celebrity drawer and a large bucket of tickets was duly brought to the front of the hall by the fundraiser.
‘Number 865,’ came John’s exclamation from the front of the hall.
‘That’s your ticket Mr Pardoe,’ said the fundraiser. Slightly embarrassed at this he duly drew a new ticket, knowing that his £10 was really a glorified donation and he wasn’t expected to win.
‘Number 613,’ came the second number.
‘That’s your ticket, again, Mr Pardoe,’ said the fundraiser.
Moving more swiftly this time he pulled another without further comment, ‘Number 1342.’
‘Yours again Mr Pardoe.’ In fact the first nine tickets drawn from the bucket were John Pardoe’s as he had bought £10’s worth of tickets, with each at the face value of five ‘old’ pence!
It was a very successful raffle but MP’s would be wise to make their donations donations rather than expecting raffle tickets in return.
It can lead to very long evenings!