Event of the Week: Spring Ball


Black Tie Ball Raises Funds for Pregnancy Research

Even seasoned cyclists would be willing to concede that 10 to 14 days of pedalling is a serious undertaking. So, when a group of recreational riders take on the challenge of traversing Great Britain from Land’s End to John O’Groats, you know it must be for a good cause.

On 16th March six friends, Phil Brown, Caroline Fox, Oliver Smith, Simon Mcloughlin, Amy Roberts and Phil Newbury, held a black tie ball on the grounds of Spetchley Park to support their trip and raise money for Tommy’s. The ball helped bring in over £9,000 for their cause.

Tommy’s began in 1992, when two obstetricians at London’s St. Thomas’ Hospital started fundraising to increase medical research into pregnancy problems. The organisation funds research to determine the causes of premature birth, stillbirth and miscarriage. With three research centres, St Thomas’ in London, St Mary’s in Manchester and the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh, Tommy’s now “leads the way in maternal and fetal research in the UK.”

They also seek to raise awareness of the facts of pregnancy related issues and “provide free, accurate and up-to-date information for medical professionals and parents-to-be.” Current services include a midwife telephone hotline, free books and pamphlets devoted to supporting healthy pregnancies and a wide-ranging Web site where facts about pregnancy, premature births and pregnancy problems can be found.

The cycle ride took 12 days and about 1,000 miles. According to Brown the group chose Tommy’s because “one of our friends’ daughters was born after 26 weeks, weighing about the same as a bag of sugar, and smaller than your hand,” he recalls.  “Due to the amazing support and research for premature babies, Poppy is now a happy and healthy seven-year-old and enjoying her early life. The support provided to her parents at the time was invaluable.”

Their fundraising ball, which featured welcome drinks, a three-course meal, a raffle and music via DJ, was publicised through word of mouth, social networking and print advertising. Brown says that raising money for charity will usually require that those involved let go of whatever ego they may have.

“If organising a charity event, don’t be afraid to beg and pester any organisation who you think may be able to help,” Brown declares. “If you don’t hear from them, don’t be afraid to contact them again. Always be polite to them and respect the fact they will do a number of community-based projects,” and may not have resources available to help with your event.

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