Patchwork founder Olivia’s son turned ten this month. To celebrate she wanted to throw him a really special party with all his family and friends. Although Manu knew about the party, what he didn’t know was that it was going to be a Back to the Future themed party – an obsession that he’s inherited from his 1980s parents.
So when did Manu’s love of Back to the Future start?
Early. Manu chose his first red ‘life preserver’ at age four, started guitar lessons on a mini red electric at the age of five, owned a skateboard by six, went to the Secret Cinema screening of Back to the Future at eight and still watches the film at least once a month, reciting every line by heart. So, a Back to the Future themed party seemed like the perfect way to celebrate Manu’s past and future.
How did you go about organising the party?
Once I’d fixed the date and booked the local Scouts hall the real challenge was searching the country to track down an original Back to the Future DeLorean to drive Manu to the venue in style.
From that point on it was simple. The Scout hall, a 1950s prefab, was the perfect Hill Valley School hall and although I knew it was going to take a lot of work to recreate the Enchantment Under the Sea dance, with Patchwork it was easy to share the plan and ask everyone to help.
What response did you get from your party patchwork?
Within days of sending out the patchwork invite I had 50 people coming, a local ‘Marvin Berry’ band booked, badges being made, a projector screen and speakers promised, 100 balloons ordered, eight cakes being baked, a banner, two signs and a Flux Capacitor being made.
How did you keep it all a secret?
It was easy to keep the Back to the Future theme a secret from Manu until the day of the party. Getting dressed in his skinny jeans, checked shirt, denim jacket and red gilet was normal for Manu. But he did start to get a bit suspicious when his dad produced an 1980s Walkman and a brand new pair of white Nikes with a red tick.
With everyone waiting at the venue it was up to Manu’s dad to get him there. As they left home Manu said ‘I feel like Marty’, and at that exact moment the DeLorean pulled up and opened its doors, blaring out the Back to the Future theme tune!
How did Manu feel riding a time machine through Brockley?
This was the only Universal Studios DeLorean time machine in the UK and the one used for the 25 anniversary promotional tour, complete with Flux Capacitor. So Manu was speechless. As were the people who saw it driving (at 5 miles an hour over the speed bumps) through the streets of Brockley.
How did you transform the party venue into the Enchantment Under the Sea dance?
I spent Friday night with girlfriends painting the giant banner and two wooden signs. And we arrived at the venue on Sunday morning with a handful of helpers to decorate the hall, blow up balloons, set the tables, fill party bags and get the band set up. So when Manu arrived the scene was set and everyone was outside the hall dressed in 1985 or 1955 outfits to welcome him.
What did Manu think when he arrived at the Back to the Future themed party?
Manu McFly tried his best to play it cool as he stepped out of his time machine to whoops and cheers from the crowd, but he couldn’t hide his surprise and delight. His joy reached new heights when he stepped inside the hall and the band started playing ‘Power of Love’.
He said “The best bit of the party was riding in the DeLorean, seeing all my friends, eating all the cakes and the Flux Capacitor that Eric made me. The funniest thing was seeing Grandad dressed as Doc and the most embarrassing bit was when the band played Earth Angel and mum tried to make me dance.”
We know that you’re the biggest Back to the Future fan really. So what was your favourite bit?
I am. I loved feeling everyone’s excitement as we saw the DeLorean drive up and seeing Manu’s face as he got out of the Time Machine! It was so fun stepping into 1955 as we entered the hall, seeing all our efforts come together and hearing the AMAZING band. We’d made mini clock tower fairy cakes but seeing the incredible sea-themed creations, the Jail Bird Joey cake and the huge red guitar cake that everyone else had made was amazing. And of course Patchwork made it all so easy. I could keep track of all the things people were helping to fund, make and do and contact everyone about the things they’d pledged to do and send updates to everyone along the way.
After an evening of dancing I could also show Manu the patchwork so he could see how everyone helped to make it happen and read everyone’s messages so he could send his own thank yous. It was a massive success, made super easy with Patchwork. Now I’m just looking for another excuse to plan a big party!