We had the honour and pleasure of an amazing guest. We were in the superb company of Jurek Owsiak – leader of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity (GOCC). The legendary leader of one of the biggest Polish charities landed in London on the 12th of April, and stayed with us for two days.

The purpose of his visit was to deliver volunteer training for activists from the Hurricane of Hearts, who had organised the last three Grand Finales of the GOCC in the English capital. Besides its educational value, the training was also a way of thanking volunteers for their hard work during the year. The seminars were entirely free of charge; the only entry requirement was declaring a willingness to help in the organisation of the next Finale.

Jurek Owsiak arrived with two employees of the Foundation. They revealed to us, in a simple and entertaining way, the secrets of social media, time management, using handy applications, co-ordinating volunteers etc.

Jurek covered the history of the Foundation. He told us about its beginning, how the idea came to fruition, and how it evolved into the GOCC, as we know it today. The story was interspersed with funny anecdotes as well as poignant memories. The participants also learned about the Woodstock Festival, the “I do not have bad attitude” project and the activities of a Peace Patrol.

At the end, Jurek asked volunteers of Hurricane of Hearts to attend this year’s Woodstock Festival in Poland.  They will be invited onto the stage, to initiate the event with their checkered crowd flag, which will then be rolled down over the heads of the audience. This particular flag was deployed before on the 15th of October 2014 during the football match between Poland and England at Wembley stadium.

There was also filmed material for a video-blog (kreciola.tv) where Jurek talked about upcoming event for the Great Ormond Street Hospital – Hurricane of Hearts’ First Finale.

Jurek and his team were very happy with the visit. They talked highly about the organisers of the Finales in London, and praised them for their hard work and professional results achieved.

This incredible experience will linger in the memories of the Hurricane of Hearts team, for a very long time to come.

Anna Ciecierska