Old and new supporters, gathered at the De Vere Beaumont Estate in Windsor, to celebrate our Fourth Annual Ball last month. Our biggest ball to date, boasting a grand amount of 258 guests, started with a drinks reception and a greeting from our portrait photographer Katie, on the purple carpet.

 

Dresses were sparkling and drinks were flowing as guests were asked to take their seats by master of ceremonies and co-founder, Alex Eastman.

These walls they will remember,
Why we came together. 

The impact we make in this room will last for some,
forever. 

So here’s my call, I ask you all,
If you believe what I believe.

Then tonight I ask we stand up tall,
And let’s see what we achieve. 

Alex’s evening began by terrifying his girlfriend Laura, with a lighthearted joke about performing a dance they had recently learnt in India for a wedding, to the 256 other guests in the room. Unbeknownst to both Alex and Laura, bidding for said dance impromptuly started and quickly escalated to a staggering £1000, from the incredibly generous Alexis Lewis.

As true team players, the dance began, wobbly at first with the only sound of music coming from Alex’s mouth, until the rest of the audience joined in, with clapping, cheering and great deal of humming.

The dance was quickly followed by a traditional game of Heads and Tails as the starters were brought out, with the role of the “tosser” being passed down to our original tossers eldest son, Ross Power.

After a much quicker game than last years intense finale, the winner was announced as Quintin Alvares, winning a Nintendo Switch Package!

Amongst the beautiful display of finery on each table, guests also found iPads, which were sponsored by our generous friends over at Givergy, for live bidding on the silent auction that was running throughout the evening. Keeping up to date with who was bidding on what, the current winner was continuously updated on the big screen, resulting in a (not-so) silent battle between Greg Thorpe and Tim Hearson at opposing ends of the room, fighting head to head for the finest suite at The Dorchester.

The raffle began with some guests paying up to £100 for raffle tickets to be in for a chance of winning prizes from GHD, Aspinal of London and Swarovski.

The Lucky Winner Ticket went to Emma Hatto who took home a magnum of champagne and a Five Supercar Blast and Hot Ride experience day.

As guests enjoyed their main course, which was a menu designed by Jackie Kearney, award winning author and Masterchef finalist, the evening was well underway as the speeches started. General Manager, Dino Rakitzis kicked off the speeches with an update for the community on the progress that has been made since the last ball.

Followed by Trustees and Co-Founders Fiona Eastman and CJ van der Westhuizen awarding the Victoria van der Westhuizen Special Honour Award to our very own Sophie Trew who helped us kickstart our Women’s Networks in Basingstoke, London and now Guildford in the last year. The ball was bittersweet for Sophie, as it was her last event as one of the team before she moves on, outside of the cancer sphere. So we had to say goodbye and thank you in the most memorable way we could think of.

The nominees for the Victoria van der Westhuizen Special Honour Award were:

Sophie Trew
Helen O’Neill
Jane Hutchison
Gerda Bennet
Scott Blofeld
Karen Woodhouse
Lorraine Bland
Gareth Wright
Amber Whalley

We were honoured to have some of the ladies we support at this years ball, who gave beautiful and heartfelt speeches on the impact VP has had on their lives since their cancer diagnoses. Vicki Pini, Anita Winberg and Louisa Gordon. The last lady to speak was Mandy Chard who was treated at Winchester Hospital. She spoke about the importance of getting our services to Winchester and how impactful that support would have been at an incredibly life-changing and vulnerable time, thanking the community for all they are doing to move that campaign forward.

Speeches finished with our final Trustee and Co-Founder Stuart Ross, who gave a beautiful testimony to his cousin Vicki as well as a rousing announcement of our VP community campaign, encouraging our supporters to join our monthly donation programme and just how impactful that support will be.

The live auction was conducted by the most professional of auctioneers, Alex (with a couple of guests thinking we had actually hired him for the evening!) With the two highest auction lots, a weeks long stay in an elegant and rustic villa in Greece, going for £3500 to Ash Burley and dinner at the BT Tower, also going for £3500 to Kim Tilley.

After the live auction finished, our resident band The Somebody’s took to the stage, filling the dance floor within minutes, where our guests partied and danced the rest of the night away.

We are delighted to announce, with thanks to everyone who attended, volunteered, contributed and donated, that our Fourth Annual Ball raised £69,114. An amount that will go an extraordinary distance in supporting young women through cancer.

Next years date is confirmed for March the 16th – make sure you get it in your diaries now!