The Tripe Marketing Board’s Christmas Appeal to help raise funds for a south London food bank facing crisis drew to a close yesterday, and the final figures have now been collated.

The Appeal was launched on Wednesday 14 November 2022, with the TMB pledging an initial £1 donation for every copy of one of their publications that was sold before the end of November. During the course of the Appeal, this pledge was revised to include any of the TMB’s wide range of books and lifted to £2 per copy (backdated to include sales from 1 November).

TMB chairman Sir Norman Wrassle kicked off the appeal with a £30 personal donation, saying he had persuaded his wife they should send the money they normally spent on Christmas cards as a donation to the food bank. “Unfortunately, we don’t have a wide circle of friends,” he said.

From 15 November, as book sales figures began to arrive at the TMB’s offices, Sir Norman paid the amounts donated into the Crowdfunder established by Kath’s Place. Adjustments were made to ensure the donations balanced with changes in the amount donated from £1 to £2, but altogether a total of £1036 was paid into the Crowdfunder between 1 – 24 November 2022 via Sir Norman’s personal account.

At that point, Sir Norman decided he needed to take some advice.  Book sales were taking off, and he began to worry that his wife might not appreciate him draining the family coffers any further, particularly since the TMB would not receive its sales royalties from Amazon until the first week of February 2023.  A discussion took place with Ray Barron Woolford from We Care, who agreed that the food bank could wait for the balance of their share of royalties until February 2023, when the TMB would receive them from Amazon. Mr Woolford said that the springtime was always a difficult time for food banks as donations tended to fall off after Christmas, so this would arrive at an opportune time and allow them to plan for the year ahead.

Apart from income from the sale of TMB books during November, the food bank had benefited from the buzz of social media publicity that the TMB’s Appeal had generated during that month. “We attribute around £6,000 of the donations made to the Crowdfunder directly to supporters and followers of the TMB on Twitter and elsewhere. It’s already made a huge difference,” Mr Woolford said.

Sir Norman paid tribute to the huge commitment made by TMB supporters, volunteers, interns and board members over the last month. “I can’t name them all, as some of them aren’t real – they’re just made up names on Twitter.  Some of them are even dogs.  But they know who they are – and they are all stars!” he said.  Sir Norman also expressed his fervent hope that the network that had been built to support the fundraising in November would endure, as it had formed new friendships and built an awareness of the plight of food banks and those who use them.

He also said he hoped those who had bought copies of the TMB’s books would enjoy them. “We’re proud of our heritage and history here at the TMB, and ‘history’ is really nothing more than a story well told. We love a good story and the tale of how Eric Shipley’s modest little tome, neglected for so many years, sold 4,952 copies in a month (1,919 on one day alone on 27 November!) is one that’s surely waiting to be told,” Sir Norman said.

Appeal Highlights

Forgotten Yorkshire was in the top 800 – 1200 books on Amazon for one week, reaching the No 3 slot in the Parody Book chart and staying there for days until the Viz 2023 Annual pushed in front.  It has been within the top 2,000 books on Amazon for three weeks.

Altogether, 5,075 TMB Books were sold in November – including a remarkable 64 copies of our classic 2021 Diary:

Sales of TMB Books across Nov 2022

This raised a whopping total of £10,150 which will be sent off to Kath’s Place in February 2023 once royalties have been received (minus the £1,036 already paid). Sir Norman said he was considering getting one of those huge cheques that are often used by donors to hide behind, in case there was press interest.

“There’s no doubting that there’s going to be a lot more tripe on people’s tables this Christmas,” Sir Norman said, “and for once, nobody can blame austerity.”

The TMB would like to thank Amazon for reducing Forgotten Yorkshire to just 99p and allowing generous supporters to donate to the food bank in this way, and we are particularly grateful for the heroic team of Amazon delivery drivers who assisted with delivering our readable tripe.

The TMB has also launched a #ChucklesAndCash campaign, so that unwanted copies of its books – in particular, Forgotten Yorkshire – are made available to a wider public via selected charity shops.

The TMB is in discussion with a small food pantry project in Glasgow with a view to supporting it in the months ahead.  “I’ve assured them that this won’t involve stocks of tripe,” Sir Norman said, “but we’ll do what we can to help.”

Anyone who wishes to make a personal donation to the We Care Food Bank Christmas Appeal, can do so here.