Sunday morning at the opulent and luxurious Renaissance Hotel Heathrow had come!
While fans awaited the fun and surprises that were in store for us today, we also knew that today was the final day of Gabit, and what was for me personally, the most fun weekend I have had in a long time.
It was strange to knowing that after months of waiting and saving, most of the convention had already gone by, but there was still much to this day, as the fun was not yet over, neither was our time with each other.
I made my way down to the main lobby of the hotel, which has been filled with fans since day one. I looked for my best friend, reporting partner for WomholeRiders News Agency, and co-interviewer, Michelle Linardis (SanctuaryAngel). Meeting Michelle had been a big highlight for me during the course of the weekend after being on-line friends for a long time!
I have been to two previous conventions, but neither were centered around one amazing and wonderful guest, Amanda Tapping, who has been a role-model to me for several years now.
We made our way into the main panel room where Master of Ceremonies Becky Preen was about to commence the festivties. After a few minutes of waiting, Amanda Tapping made her way into the room, which of course was followed by cheers and applause from her admirers, the fans!
After quick reminder of the rules for the panels by Becky Preen, we were ready to begin the third Q&A session. One thing Amanda Tapping is known for as far as fans are concerned, is bending the rules here and there, which is why every year the GABIT Events team finds a new and creative way to get Ms. Tapping off stage.
Since Amanda Tapping is famous for respecting a fan and their questions, she can some time (more than some times) lose track of time, which is why I like to think GABIT Events uses that to add another element of fun to the overall convention.
It is one of those reasons I respect and admire Amanda Tapping so much, because she can give such meaningful and heartfelt answers, especially when talking about Sanctuary For Kids, and or other charities and passions she holds close to her heart.
I am not sure how GABIT Events came up with this idea, but clearly this was their idea to get Ms. Tapping off the stage when her time was over. During the course of the weekend, we were shown clips of a mysterious man dressed in a werewolf suit, who was running around London, who eventually found his way into the GABIT Events hotel, and in to the panel room.
The crowd got a big kick out of it, and so did Amanda Tapping who herself as she attempted run away and throw kicks at the wolf man. The look on Amanda Tapping’s face was a mixture of humor and horror, which is what all great actors can do, and I felt this was a great way to end the third panel of AT6 Ripples.
Then came the time for the autograph session, my personal favorite time of any convention because to me, it allows fans a few extra minutes with Amanda Tapping, and their chance to have their special moment with her.
While the autograph sessions were taking place, another viewing of Space Milkshake was going on Fans were allowed to chose any two items they like to have signed by Ms. Tapping, and as a bonus, Julia Hague was seated there as well, and fans were allowed to get her “You is for Unique” book signed, which I of course did too. Like the photo-ops, groups of fans went up by their row numbers, even though I was in row F, I wanted to go up and wait for Michelle Linardis as she went into to receive her autograph.
I was very happy for her, and I am glad she got her time with Amanda Tapping and Julia Hague. As I waited for my time to go up, and have a few minutes with Amanda Tapping and Julia Hague, I was able to watch other fans have their moments with them, which to me is something very nice to see, because I enjoy watching other fans be happy, and have their “special moment”.
Finally, my moment came, as a stood up out of the chair I was sitting on, and despite having had previous encounters with Ms. Tapping, she is someone I hold is the highest of respect, and even though I had only known Ms. Hague for a couple of days, she is by far one of the most admirable women I have ever met.
When I got to the table, both Ms. Tapping and. Ms. Hague were both beyond kind and great to talk to, and of course they both called me by name. I was lucky to get my complete Stargate SG-1 DVD set signed by Amanda Tapping herself!
In fact, she signed it twice because I had asked her to sign the actual Stargate in the front, but was worried the signature could rub off, so she kindly signed the top corner. The item I had personalized was my cocktail group photo, normally I am not one to have photos signed, but because that was my first cocktail party ever.
I thought it would be right to do so. Julia Hague, bless her heart, signed my copy of her book. I was able to get a few words with both of them. I told Ms. Hague that I read some of her book that day, and since then, I have read it all. I briefly spoke to Amanda about her time on the Comedy Network game show, Match Game.
I also took the time to thank them for both for the interview we had the previous day, Ms. Tapping and Ms. Hague said I did wonderful. I told them the real reason I requested that WormholeRiders arrange the interview, was so my best friend Michelle would have the opportunity. I am happy she was able to be apart of it with me.
They were both touched by what I had told them. I did not want to take up too much of their time, or the time of the other fans, so I thanked them both from the bottom of my heart.
Of course, they would not let me go that easily. Amanda Tapping, being the most wonderful human being I have ever met, stood up out of her chair, gave me a big hug, a little kiss on the cheek, and told me she was proud of me!
Julia Hague also stood up to wish me well, and thanked me for coming. It felt highly honored to have lived that moment, both these amazing women are huge inspirations to me, and after many months of hard work and saving, it was all worth it to have gotten that “special moment.”
As a bonus, as fans were walking out of the autograph room, we were given a special hand-made beaded bracelet made from Nepal, which is a gift to us from Amanda Tapping herself.
After an emotional, and fulfilling, autograph session, I left the room filling like I had accomplished something huge and important in my life.
As always, each question a fan asked, Ms. Tapping answered them with respect, attention, and depending on the question, Amanda Tapping delivers some of the most fun, heartfelt and enlightening questions, which is something fans love her for.
The panel room was filled with laughs, smiles, and even tears of joy over what was said and done. One thing I felt was very kind of Amanda Tapping to do to a fan was to invite a fan from the crowd, Zoe Jamet (MissCheerfully) up to the stage to do a duet song from Sanctuary’s popular episode, “Fugue”.
It was a great performance by both Amanda Tapping and Zoe Jamet. A lovely treat to the fans was a surprise performance by Jenn Scheffler, Rebecca Ford, Tracy North and Liesl Bland as the band “ABBA“. They got up on stage toward the end of the panel singing the song “SOS”.
It was very fun to watch, as even Ms. Tapping herself began to dance along to the singing, as did some of the fans in the crowd. It was a wonderful to end the final panel, and I am glad Gabit found a very creative way to end the final Q&A session on a high note. No pun intended.
After the final “Question and Answer” session, fans were given a break before the closing ceremony of AT6. On a personal memory, before the closing ceremony, a small group of fans had gathered around a lovely piano in the lobby. These dedicated GABIT’iers were singing songs from Sanctuary’s “Fugue”, along with the songs, “You Raise Me Up” and “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele.
The small group of fans began to grow much bigger as the singing continued, and before I knew it, so many fans were not just watching, but singing along! it had become known as the “GABIT choir”. I can honestly say I had never been apart of something so wonderful. This part was not Amanda Tapping related, it was simply a large group of fans together, singing with passion in their voices.
it reminded me of how unique and special Amanda Tapping and the AT6 Ripples convention is!,I was so very lucky to be a part of it. I am proud to have been so. The four fans in this photo (below) are my dear friends Nadine Halfter (pumpkinnubbin), Tamy M. Borbe (tamariebo), Patrycja Kubiak, (PathQ) and Marion Boissieras.
Finally, the final part of AT6 has arrived, the closing ceremony. It was very bittersweet, after several months of waiting, anticipation, and excitement, the time had come to end what had been the most amazing weekend I had ever been apart of. For me, Gabit, and any convention has become more than just going out and meeting celebrities, it is a time for friends, best friends, and what I like to call “friends-family” to get together, have a good time, and have fun.
It is amazing how people who have never met each other, from all over the world can meet up in one location, not just to meet Amanda Tapping, but each other as well. For me, this was the first time meeting many of my online friends, and I was also excited about meeting the GABIT Events team for the first time. Conventions come and go, but true friendships can last a lifetime, and thanks to Amanda Tapping and her amazing fandom, such friendships exist.
All throughout the the event had been donations made, and all that was added up from the auctions, the merchandise sold, purchased and independent donations, etc, which all added up to a 40,000 British Pounds, which is $64,184.80 in Canadian money.
Quite amazing how a small group of fans can come together and put all that money together for such worthy causes. 10,000 British Pounds went to Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.
We were informed would take this much money to train a dog, as a bonus, a small was there from Hearing Dogs, fans had the chance to name the puppy, but Amanda Tapping herself was the one who named the puppy, thus it was given the name, “Ozzie”.
Both cheques were shown to the crowd, not only for us to see the amount of money raised, but for all of us to see how much good we had all done as a community for two wonderful charities. The applause and cheers from the crowd was amazing! Everyone stood up to proudly applaud for what was done in only two days!
The brilliant Julia Hague got on stage to give her closing speech. As always it was heartfelt, true, and more like a poem than a speech. Everything she said was right to the point. In my opinion, this what fandom is all about, how friendships are spread far and wide around the world, and what it means to be included as part of this remarkable group of people.
As I looked around room, I saw fans beginning to tear up, as Ms. Hague spoke with her usual words of wisdom not just about us fans, but the amazing Amanda Tapping herself. I had never heard such true words of love and community come out of one person before. It was an honor to simply sit there and listen.
There was still one final thing to do. Amanda Tapping had promised to do, she was able to get the awesome Robin Dunne himself, who played Dr. Will Zimmerman on Sanctuary on the phone, which she then put on speaker, then held her phone to the microphone so all of us could hear him.
I had the pleasure of meeting Robin Dunne at Dragon Con in 2011. One of the things Mr. Dunne and Ms. Tapping talked about, hilariously in fact, was the colorful nicknames they have for one another. Hearing the two of them talk was so much fun. I hope to be attending the Australia Comic Con in March of 2013, which is in Adelaide, the hometown of Michelle Linardis.
Once Robin Dunne was off the phone. Amanda Tapping gave the final speech of AT6, which of course she did a wonderful job speaking from her heart, to the many loyal fans who had the honor to travel a great distance to meet this remarkable woman.
Three final things were shared with us on the large screen in the panel room. The first was a video of Sanctuary For Kids, as well as Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, and a look back at some special moments from the weekend. Although there was a slight error with the music for the video, the fans stepped in, and started to sing “You Raise Me Up”, but eventually the music was working, and the video was shown as it was meant to be.
And, finally, before I or anyone knew it, the sixth Amanda Tapping event hosted by GABIT Events in London England, was over. As fans began to make their way out of the panel room one last time. Amanda Tapping waved goodbye to us all, as fans did, with tears in their eyes, and with smiles on their faces.
For me personally, the journey to make it to AT6 Ripples was long, expensive, hard, but so very worth it all. I look forward to the day when we can all do it again. I would like to thank the always amazing Amanda Tapping for her unending spirit, big heart, and compassion that is unmatched.
Another big thank you rightfully goes to Julia Hague for being one of the most brilliant women I have ever met, and for bring another inspiration to many around the world.
On a more personal note, thank you both for allowing Michelle Linardis and myself to interview you both for WormholeRiders. Bless you for taking the time to allow two fans the honor of sitting down with you both. I will never forget.
And a HUGE thank you goes to the GABIT Events team for their very long, hard and amazing work they did to make sure everyone who attended. Without you, this entire convention would not have as unforgettable.
And of course, a mega thank you to my best and my loyal friend, Michelle Linardis. One thing I will never forget from the weekend, didn’t happen at Gabit, it happened at King’s Cross station, near platform 9 3/4, when I first had the pleasure of meeting you. Thank you for sticking with me throughout AT6, and sticking with me through these reports, you are one of a kind, and I value our friendship more than anything.
Thank you to those who read the our AT6 reports, thank you to Wormholeriders News Agency for allowing Michelle and I to share these stories with you, and for the honor of arranging for us sitting down with Amanda Tapping and Julia Hague in an exclusive interview, two of the most inspirational women I have ever met. I will never forget the important lessons about life they have taught me. Thank you all again for reading, from two dedicated Amanda Tapping fans, this has been the story of AT6, and this is how it ends. Namaste
Oh, wait, just one final bit of news, AT7 will be February 21st-23rd in 2014!
Thanks to Michelle for supporting my reporting efforts with images. More thanks to Kenn for audio embedding, locating additional images, hyper-linking, and for working tirelessly New Years Eve to help to put the finishing touches and formatting on my AT6 Ripples Sunday report to share with you.
More thanks to you for reading and visiting our news site dedicated to conventions at WormholeRiders News Agency.
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