All Counties Craft Challenge Final Diary – Mission Accomplished…?

April 13, 2017 — 44 Comments

So, yesterday saw the welcome home celebration that marked the end of the All Counties Craft Challenge for Maisy and myself but what of the challenge; did we succeed?

All Counties Challenge Header

The Mission

When Maisy and I first set out on this challenge we had two specific goals in mind.

  1. Raise much needed awareness of, and funds for, Mind – the mental health charity.
  2. Promote mindfulness through creativity.

This was to be done through travelling the country and hosting workshops in as many of the 92 historic counties as possible.

The Result

Sounds like a simple enough thing to do, right?

If you have followed the diary posts you will know that at times it was not the easiest of tasks, especially given that I was doing all of this after suffering a breakdown and whilst living with subsequent depression and anxiety myself; key reasons why I chose to do the challenge in the first place.

There were some major highs in all forms; people, places, events.

There were some definite lows; the suicide of a friend, mood dips and panic attacks.

So, was it all worth it?


The challenge, in raising over £22,000 for the charity, has also been able to get mental health and mindfulness talked about in a large number of print and online publications with total circulation reaching into the 100s of 1000s and has also been featured on several regional BBC radio stations with similar coverage.

That is a lot of people talking about a subject that all to often can be swept under the carpet.

Goal 1 accomplished!

1000’s of you chose to attend a workshop or grab yourself an official Create and Craft TV All Counties Craft Challenge postcard colouring book and get colouring in order to be more mindful.

Goal 2 accomplished!

Did we hit all 92 counties? No. What we did do though is create and attend 92 events around the country from as far south as Cornwall all the way up to the Shetland islands and from Northern Ireland to the eastern counties, covering a total of 25,000+ miles around the entire United Kingdom. I’d say that was a good trade off, wouldn’t you … ?

Welcome Home

The star of the event has really been Maisy the motorhome. She has been my home and the one to lug me and my craft stash around those 25,000+ miles and been parked up in the most unusual places.

From when we first met …

… through her makeover and official reveal …

… to her final day of workshops …

… I loved that lass and will miss her a lot.

She has been pap-snapped in car parks, laybys and motorway services and whenever she is spotted people have stopped and talked.

It was fitting therefore that she should be the centre of attention during the recent welcome home celebrations that were held at the Create and Craft TV studios in Peterborough.

Driving her back into the car park and seeing the crowd was a little daunting. 

This was it!

The rest of the day was great as I also got to meet the fundraising coordinators from Mind that had helped with collection pots, banking and all of the legal aspects behind the challenge – and hand over a GIANT cheque :)

There was even cake!

Somewhere in front of the queue anyway ;)


All too soon it was time to grab my suitcase and head off up to my new home in Scotland and say au revoir to Peterborough.

Final Donations

Whilst the challenge has officially ended you can still make a contribution and help someone else who is going through a difficult time.

The Just Giving page will remain open until August and the Postcard Colouring Books will still be available from Create and Craft TV allowing time for anyone that still wants to contribute to do so.

All donations from both of these methods will go directly to Mind.

Many thanks to EVERYONE that chose to take part in whatever way – you are the reason that I kept going through the challenge, and the reason that I have the chance for a new start.

Thank you.


44 responses to All Counties Craft Challenge Final Diary – Mission Accomplished…?

    Alison Starling May 1, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    Sad that I never received my small piece of art work as described when you first started challenge John but well done all the same

    Liked by 1 person

    Catherine Irving April 25, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    Well done what an achievement and welcome to Bonnie Scotland hope your happy here its no a bad wee place to live

    Liked by 1 person


    Magnificent achievement John…& Maisie! Congratulations and for such a worthwhile cause. Thank you also for the pleasure and inspiration you have given us on your journey. Well done. You should be very proud of yourself. Perhaps another one in. the future? We are greedy but love what you do so much. 💋

    Liked by 1 person

    Jennifer Beattie April 17, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    Well done sir! I’m annoyed that I didn’t get to any of your events ‘north of the Border’ but I hope to see more Mandalas on the horizon!

    Liked by 1 person


    Congratulations John on your huge achievement! I have thoroughly enjoyed following and supporting your journey, you have made a huge difference to many people raising awareness, You have made me laugh out loud whilst following your journey blogs- no mean feat. So thank you . Good luck with your new beginnings and hope to see you on the tv doing what you do so well!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Stella Platonos April 15, 2017 at 11:20 am

    Well done John, you should be proud of yourself. It was lovely meeting you in Exmouth. Good luck for the future. x

    Liked by 1 person


    Well done John, going to miss your adventures with Maisie. Welcome to Bonnie Scotland, and may you have more crafty adventures here :)

    Liked by 1 person

    Georgina Horobin April 14, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    Well done John. My friend and I came to the Derbyshire event and we had a great time. I am a trustee at Derbyshire Mind and we are celebrating and fundraising in this our 50th Anniversary year. I have challenged myself to hold a coffee morning and crafternoon. No where near the challenge you set yourself, but hopefully I will raise a few pounds. I have bought the postcard colouring book and I have included a set of crayons as one of the raffle prizes. Well again John you are an inspiration and a legend. Enjoy your move to Scotland

    Liked by 1 person


    Well done John. Really enjoyed the workshop I did. Best of luck for the future. Will miss your posts.

    Liked by 1 person


    You’re a star, shining brightly whatever the challenge ….well done and congratulations on an amazing achievement. I will really miss you popping into my mail box. I wish you all the very best for your new life in Scotland. Keep well and carry on crafting. Karen X

    Liked by 1 person


    What an amazing achievement John. It was a pleasure to meet you and to host two of your events. So sorry we had closed and could not hold your finale. Good luck in your next chapter of excitement, I look forward to more blogs!!! 😊 Katy (The Manor House) x

    Liked by 1 person


    Well done and many thanks to you too John for giving us so much pleasure. All the best in whatever you choose to do. ‘Mind’ was also mentioned on the ‘One show’ this week.

    Liked by 1 person


    Thank you for all you’ve done & achieved over the past year. I know you’ve been an inspiration to many people. It’s going to be strange not hearing about all the places & people you’ve met on the road but I’m sure we will be hearing a lot of what ever it is you’ve planned or are planning to do from now on. Enjoy your new home & keep safe dearest man. xxxx

    Liked by 2 people


    Welcome to your new home north of the Border and I hope you are as happy as I have been since I moved up here some 16 years ago. You have been a source of true inspiration and your blogs have got me through some very dark days too. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    Liked by 1 person


    I am incredibly proud of what you have done not only to help MIND but also what a positive message you’ve brought about dealing with a wide array of mental health issues. Crafting truly is a wonderful tool to reach out to others. The year seems to have gone by in a flash, but what a journey. I’m so glad I happened to tune into Create & Craft to see you and Maisy on your triumphant return. I’ll miss your stories from the road, but I also look forward to hearing about your new adventures in Scotland. Finally, I hope you will consider publishing a coffee table book with the many amazing photos from the past year. Much love.

    Liked by 1 person


    An incredible journey, both in distance and in life with lots of highs and lows along the way. What makes it even more amazing is that you were suffering too. How apt that it ends around Easter- a time for new beginnings – especially with you making a brand new start by moving from Peterborough to Scotland. I wish you the very best of luck and can personally assure you that there IS life after panic attacks and they can be conquered! Congratulations ! Liz X

    Liked by 1 person


    Well done John congratulations. You did amazingly well. So proud of you. I was gutted I couldn’t get to any of your workshops I did donate and get the postcards from C&C. Hope you get to have a bit of a rest now. Wow moving from Peterborough to Scotland a bit of a difference. Good luck with what ever you are doing next. Take care John. Crafty Hugs. Jenny xx

    Liked by 1 person


    Brilliant John, just brilliant. Hope you will be very happy in your new home and good luck for whatever you decide to do next. I hope we see you again very soon.

    Liked by 1 person


    CONGRATULATIONS John. Well done on finishing the challenge, didn’t for one minute doubt that you wouldn’t. You have done tremendously well. What an experience for you, one that you will surely look back on with pride. I do hope you will keep blogging as I will miss your regular little chats & advice on crafty things!! Good luck in your new home. But does this mean we won’t be seeing on Create and Craft anymore? I do hope not.
    Happy crafting
    Carole x

    Liked by 1 person


    Congratulations John, you have have been amazing. I really enjoyed our class at Stamp Addicts in Bedfordshire. I wish you good health and happiness in your new home and would love you to keep us all informed with photos and updates from Scotland. Good luck and Thank You x

    Liked by 1 person

    Judy Del Perugia April 13, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    Hi John. Well done indeed! The achievement of this fantastic challenge is well deserved. I’m sure you have inspired and encouraged many, many people whilst raising all that fab money for such a deserving cause. I really enjoyed the workshops that I attended and I’ve certainly gained confidence in ‘messy crafting’ – love it! Wishing you peace, health and happiness in your new life in Scotland. Enjoy! Many thanks for all your hard work x

    Liked by 1 person


    Congratulations on such an amazing achievement John. Hope you settle into your new home in Scotland really well, and that you can be as happy as I have been since we moved here 5 years ago. If you’re ever near Inverness, pop in for a coffee and mooch around my craft room! Susan x

    Liked by 1 person

    Olive Ann Jones April 13, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    Congratulations John, what a marvellous achievement inreaching such a faxbulous ammount. My daughter in law is a volunteer with Mind and I forwarded your reports to her. Please keep posting will miss you xx



    So many congratulations and loads of admiration for what you’ve done. I’ve been privileged to attend both the Godalming workshop weekends and then you came to our crafty workshop for a day of fun. Would love to have done just one more but now wishing you all the best for the future and hope you settle into your new home in Scotland. I’m making my first trip up there in mid-May. Attending the Papeterie weekend but plan on having a couple of days exploring as well …. great-grandmother and her family came from the area.
    Good luck John, with whatever the future holds for you.

    Liked by 1 person


    Wow. How quickly a year has passed. You have done an amazing thing and you must be very proud. Be happy in your new home. Can we have lots of pics please and carry on blogging. X Chris

    Liked by 1 person


    John, you are a star and a hero. many many congratulations on you achievement and a TON of good wishes for whatever you choose to do now! Hoping to see you back on telly?

    Liked by 1 person


    Congratulations on achieving your challenge, and best wishes for the new chapter in your life.

    Liked by 1 person

    Theresa Goodwin April 13, 2017 at 9:48 am

    OMG John you have done an amazing job you are a absolute star
    Well done and good luck in your new home in Scotland I am sure whatever you do next it will be a complete success Be Happy xxx

    Liked by 1 person


    Well done John. Thank you so much for raising awareness. Coming from a family where mental health is an issue it’s great to have it discussed in a wider forum. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    Chris Harrison April 13, 2017 at 9:37 am

    Well done John, you are an incredible man to have accomplished such a journey while suffering yourself. Depression is no stranger to me so I have some insight of what it must have taken for you to have completed what at times must have been an arduous journey. I have another condition that is not spoken about ( bowels and Stomas ) which can leave you feeling isolated. Thankfully I found some groups on Facebook where you can freely discuss your concerns and ask questions with embarrassment. The more open we can be about such conditions the more we can help people manage their problems and get the help they need. The public need to realise that depression is a chemical imbalance that requires treatment in the same way as any other medical condition, we cannot ” pull ourselves together ” !!! You are a hero and deserve a long rest after what you have achieved but I sincerely hope you will still be involved with the crafting world, I need your insights into my wonderful Scan and Cut machine. Love and hugs xxx

    Liked by 2 people


    Well done John. You are an inspiration and I will miss reading the weekly accounts of your travels throughout the UK.
    Enjoy your new home in Scotland.
    Clare x

    Liked by 2 people


    Congratulations John, what an achievement it was lovely meeting you at Doncaster, good luck in your New home, Scotland is a beautiful place to be xxx

    Liked by 1 person


    Huge congratulations, John. I enjoyed meeting you at your Brother Scan and Cut workshop at Fat Qusryers. You are most certainly one of life’s gentlemen :-)

    Liked by 1 person


    Brilliant achievement well done hope you enjoy Scotland it’s a fab place was my home for a few short years loved it there xx

    Liked by 1 person


    Brilliant John…congratulations. Wishing you happiness, peace and contentment in your new home.

    Liked by 1 person


    Fantastic accomplishment John. Thoroughly enjoyed my day at the Craft World workshop in Glasgow. Welcome to your new home in Scotland. Who knows, might bump in to you sometime. Congratulations on a magnificent amount of money.

    Liked by 1 person


    Well done John, what an achievement. When you get down, remember how many people you have helped over the last year. I know depression isn’t rational, and can strike for no apparent reason, but you have helped me quite a few times while on your travels, and I’m sure many others too. Go and have a good rest, good luck in your new home, but please don’t disappear altogether. I, for one, will miss you. Anne x

    Liked by 2 people


    Well done John you must feel satisfied in your achievement. I think you have been incredibly brave taking on such a huge challenge. Good luck in your new life in Scotland xx

    Liked by 1 person

    Ruthie in Suffolk April 13, 2017 at 8:40 am

    Well, well done! I enjoyed the workshop in Bury St Edmunds, which seems like a very long time ago now, and have recently bought the postcard colouring too. Just imagine if we all now bought the colouring how it would boost the fund further….. Congratulation to you 😘 and embrace your new chapter 😘

    Liked by 1 person


    Well done John you had an amazing experience. I joined you at the Mountain Ash craft workshop. And it was great. I have been encouraged to jump out of my comfort zone and go for my dreams more.


    Liked by 1 person

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