Splash for Cash for Cancer – The World Water Bombing Championships

Written by Grant Mills on . Posted in Charity, European Bazaar, Festivals, Society, Travel

Nothing comes more naturally to kids (well at least boys) than the waterbomb. It seems to engage our most primal desire to make as much mess as possible along with our insuppressible urge to bodily throw ourselves off things. But in a world of No Running, No Splashing, and definitely NO WATERBOMBING, the window of years in which you can find a sneaky moment to waterbomb your friends and get away with it seems to be shrinking.

Waterbombing-10How exciting then to discover the World Water Bombing Championships in Sheffield, England. Not only is it mandatory to waterbomb it also raises money for charity. And even better than that, you get to do it off the 3m diving board to max your splash!

With the brilliant help of some Couchsurfer teammates, Christine Jumpsmash, Pauline ‘The Bean’ Robinson and Brettany Hull – to give you there bombing aliases – and myself, Grantina ‘Gravity’ Mills, we became the Backdrop Babes of Badminton.

To quote directly from our Team Bio – creatively crafted by Pauline, I think – “Between us, the Backdrop Babes have two kids, a few degrees and the odd foreign passport. Together we make up the hottest babes on the Sheffield badminton circuit. Curves in all the right places (and also a few of the wrong ones) if you know what I mean…

It should also probably have said that we also had a Guinness World Record among us as well – but more on that later.

Needless to say: We Came, We Bombed, We Conquered (sort of).

Waterbombing-9In the very professional diving pool of the Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, the waterbombers took to the stage throwing themselves off in the most ridiculous of manners and in the most ridiculous of costumes, all in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.

But I’ll let Rob Turner, Macmillan’s Fundraising Manager in Sheffield, go on to explain where the spoils of all this misguided energy goes.

Rob: Macmillan are a charity that provides practical, emotional, financial and medical support for people affected by cancer…Increasingly what we’re finding at Macmillan is that a lot of patients need care and support after they’ve had treatment. So a lot of the money that we are fundraising for in this city is around a survivorship project that we’re doing. We are looking at improving the care that patients receive after treatment when they go home, to improve the quality of their life.

So other than assisting from the medical professional side of it we also give out patient grants. That could pay for parking, travel to their treatment, or it could be a washing machine, a day out with their family – a priceless memory. And we also have a national Macmillan helpline that people can call, whether it’s for advice or support, or whether it’s guidance on their finances or benefits. A lot of the time when you’re facing cancer you won’t really know what to do and it’s a place for people to turn to.

Waterbombing-15OSW: So why is the Water Bombing so popular?

Rob: I think the reason it has been so successful is its uniqueness. It is the only kind of World-Championship of its nature. People like the fact that they can dress up in costumes in front of an audience. From the charity point of view, Macmillan is a really loved charity and it’s very close to a lot of the Bombers’ hearts.

It’s hard to tell you the exact figure but the event would have raised around £75,000 pounds in the last ten years. This year we’re hoping to raise £10,000. Based on the teams’ fundraising I know that one of the teams has raised £3000 pounds, another team has raised £1200 and obviously we do a lot of fundraising on the night, so fingers crossed we can do £10000 for its tenth year.

[OSW NOTE: At the time of publishing Macmillan had raised £9300 from the night and some teams’ donation money was still coming in, so they are optimistic of hitting their target. Well done guys!]

OSW: What’s the best part of the event in your opinion?

Rob: It’s the costumes. We’ve had one team that called themselves the Flying Mankinis, I’ll leave that up to your imagination. We’ve had a gothic Morris Dancing team. Last year we had clowns, people dressing up as bombs. This year I can tell you we’ve got a team dressing up as the Spartans from 300. I’m told they’ve done 50 hours work on their costumes and props. We’ve also had one of the ladies who bought a sewing machine specifically to design their costumes. It’s amazing.

Waterbombing-19OSW: And what about you, Rob, you did it last year?

Rob: Yes, and it bloody hurts. I was dressed as Bananaman, which might not have been the best choice, as soon as I hit the water that costume became very heavy.

Awards were given out for the Best Costumes, Best Individual Bomber (in which fellow couchsurfer, Anthony, dressed as the Hippo, took an honourable third (ROBBED!)), as well as Best Waterbombing Team. Top honours went to the defending champions, the MMA Allstars dressed as Spartans complete with home-made chariot (which didn’t make it into the pool unfortunately).

As for the Backdrop Babes of Badminton, we put in our best, hamming it up for the 4 judges. Brettany went for the front flip, Pauline for the backflip, Chris juggled badminton rackets and burst up from the water blowing kisses, and God only knows what Grantina was attempting. Blonde wigs were going everywhere, including to the bottom of the pool.

Sadly The Backdrop Babes were underappreciated in the awards but came away intending to make a bigger splash next year!

Sidenote: I mentioned a Guinness World Record Holder earlier, if you were paying attention. Our team member Christine Jumpsmash, is actually Chris Marley in disguise and, I discovered on the night, is the official world record holder for juggling axes. Which is pretty amazing; you don’t get to meet a Guinness World Record holder every day. You can check out his showreel here (But sadly no axe work. You’ll have to hire him for your corporate gig to see that)

Waterbombing-21

World Water Bombing Championship

When: Around Early May. Keep an eye on the Macmillan website for more info 
Where: Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, Sheffield, England
Why: Raise money for cancer and tickle your childish delights!

Click on any of the photos below to see the full gallery. And don’t forget to Like OSW on Facebook

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