June the 6th played stage to the second Victoria’s Promise Charity Ball. The ball was held to raise both funds and awareness in our plight to support young women through cancer.
As the clock turned to 6pm guests began to arrive in an array of glamour and splendour usually reserved for the red carpets of the boulevard. The atmosphere of the gathering guests was immediately jovial. Champagne, Wine and Beer sponsored by Ridgeway Hampshire BMW were gratefully received by sharply tailored tuxedo clad gents and brightly sparkling, gown adorned ladies. Photographer, Iain Campbell skilfully crafted images of as many of our glowing supporters as his trigger-finger would allow.
The evening proceeded with a call through to the ball room for the sit down meal. The room, a vision of warm purple and crisp white, brought to life the colours and icons of our cause into an immersive environment.
Fiona Eastman, Trustee, delivered a warm, entertaining and thought provoking welcome speech setting the tone perfectly for the evenings proceedings as well as some wise considerations on mindfulness and staying present in our daily lives.
Our auctioneer for the evening, Chris Sheasby, as marvellous and charismatic character as you should wish to meet, lifted the curtain on the evenings itinerary with a game of heads and tales. After the final few were called to the front to pit themselves against each other, it was Rebecca Bromley that came out as victor, winning a spa weekend for two, generously donated by AJC Carpentry.
After a wonderful, traditional Scottish blessing of the meal by Victoria’s Grandfather Duff Ross, everyone settled into their first course.
During the dinner, guests where both transfixed and perplexed by extraordinary talents of Katherine Mills, Magician & Mentalist, whom kindly donated her time to entertain our guests (and she most certainly did!)
Once the first course was finished, our raffle winners were drawn. Coming up to collect from a rich array of prizes donated by extremely generous supporters of Victoria’s Promise. As well as the winner of the lucky ticket claiming a Jeroboam of champagne and the runner up a red letter day.
Whilst enjoying desert and a wonderful cheese course, donated by The Hampshire Cheese Company, it was the turn of Alex, Trustee, to share some thoughts around his experiences since the charity was launched as well as some aspirations for the future. CJ, Trustee, conducted a polished and informative presentation on the workings of Victoria’s Promise’s initiatives, as well as a break down of how the funds donated translate into support for young women receiving cancer treatment.
CJ handed over to Dr Lara Alloway, Clinical Director of Cancer Services at Basingstoke hospital. Dr Alloway eloquently and passionately discussed the requirement there is for the kind of support we offer, as well as her visions for further collaboration with the new Cancer Centre she has been vehemently pioneering over the last 9 years.
After the speeches, it was time for Chris to once again entertain us with his energy and charm as he conducted the auction. Flurried arms took to the air in support of the cause, a room burgeoning with kindness and humility became ever more apparent as each lot out did the expectations of the trustees. Kim Tilley and the girls at the Sunseeker table generating particular attention with their seemingly endless bids and encouragement, incredible generosity and fun radiating from each of them. As did many that took part and we can not thank every bidder enough for their invaluable support. The auction came to an end with a game of nerve… all were told to rise from their chairs and sit when the price got too high for the limited edition Victoria’s Promise labelled champagne. Well there was one man apparently anchored in the upright position, Stuart Ross, Trustee, stood firm to the bitter end before whispering to Chris he would like to bid £2000 for the bottle, as you may imagine, no further challenges were received and Stuart walked away with the bottle, not to mention a healthy dose of positive karma.
Now it was the time for the Dance floor to open up, and open up it certainly did! Kicking off with Fleetstreet Mac, an extraordinarily talented musical ensemble from Freshfields LLP that kindly donated their time and talents to the evenings discourse. It wasn’t long before they had everyone jumping around and singing along. A really remarkable performance put on by them and we remain hopeful we will be able to secure there presence at any future events we may hold.
After Fleetstreet Mac, it was time for The Somebodys to take tot he stage, the same band that enveloped us all last year with their feel good classics and re-worked covers did not disappoint this year. A fantastic performance that, coupled with the ambient feeling of triumph that everyone there had come together to really make a difference, created a jubilant atmosphere to end the evenings ceremonies.
Carriages then arrived to take home the glistening belle’s and untucked, partially de-robed gents, well most of them. Some stayed on to sample the myriad of top shelf refreshments on offer in the lower bar until the slightly smaller hours of the morning – there is even unconfirmed reports of a late night, impromptu, acoustic musical feast between some of the band members, guests and a certain trustee. But these reports are still to be validated.
In our minds the evening was a real success, but the true success will come when all of the awareness and funds raised translate into support for the brave and deserving young women that the evening was all about. An evening inspired by the love and bravery of Victoria.
The evenings fundraiser raised an incredible £18,523 of profit for the charity. We are so humbled and grateful to everyone that came and contributed to this incredible total.
See you next year!