This well be a serious blog this morning. My head is still reeling, my heart can’t decide to sing or scream. I am crying.
Last night 120 people gather at The Gallivant in Camber Sands, East Sussex for a dinner dance with raffle and auction all in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust. If you read some of my other blogs you will know that 9 years ago our daughter Ally died of liver cancer aged 15 1/2. Teenage Cancer Trust was her chosen charity because she hated all the wards she went into -either surrounded by babies or the elderly dying. TCT builds and runs wards that are specifically aimed for teenagers and their needs -Please follow the link below to see more.
What a night! We were in the company of a great bunch of folks, some of whom had come hundreds of miles for the evening! Quite a few of them were involved in the fruit importing business, as is the fantastic guy who organised and indeed paid for the evening. Michael and his partner Pascale have been absolute stars, only needing our help in gathering auction and raffle prizes. They have been involved in TCT for quite some time, but I only met them last year when Louise Scott came to Rye as the South Eastern Fund Raising Rep and set up our Rye Area Fund Raising Group. Last night was such a success because of their hard work and fantastic friends.
We started the evening with an open bar to get us in the mood, and then a three course meal…as you can imagine the noise level was fun with 120 folks enjoying themselves!! On each table was the raffle ticket box and we all ‘bought’ half a playing card, with the other half going into the draw. I was very grateful to Richard for coming home early and supporting me… Also it was a good chance to catch up as well as me the great people on our table. The couple to my right had come from North Essex, and the couple to Hubby’s left had come form North London. Tales of children, grandchildren, and our work were swapped, amid wine and great food.
Then came the auction… The girls on the committee had our clip boards and forms and acted as spotters for the very animated Auctioneer. As you can imagine there was fierce bidding for things like two Rolling Stone tickets, a day at Ascot, Cheltenham Ladies Day, Wimbledon Centre Court tickets and many other wonderful things… Michael was brilliant at getting the bidding going, and going upwards, and upwards, and much rivalry amongst friends led to great final figures for eg David Beckham signed shirt! You can imagine!
Exhausted, we gathered in the payment forms and gave them to Louise to count whilst the raffle was drawn. Nicola and I went out to the bar(!) to help folks chose their prizes and take their names so we can thank them later. I put in a Valentine’s weekend in my cottage, and it went to a lovely young lady, Sarah, who I will make sure has a magnificent Welcome Basket!
Then the dancing began! Needless to say it was mainly the ladies dancing watched but their other halves… Quite a few calories were used up on that floor dancing to the great live band! Hubby and I watched for the sidelines basking in the fun and happiness.
Then Michael got everyone’s attention and Louise gave us the final figure we had raised…
In one night
I started to shake, Hubby grabbed my hand, and the tears came…they are coming now as I type this too. The loud cheer that was raised still didn’t show how I felt. Such generosity, such kindness.
This is the biggest amount raised in one event in the South East .. So far! Louise Scott and I just hugged, and as my tears started again Richard and I agreed it was time to leave before I started howling! Hubby was finding it hard to stay in control too.
So, as I slowly backed out of the carpark and headed home I silently hugged our Ally, wishing, oh wishing so hard she was there to celebrate with us! When we got home we told Son the amount and he was blown away. We all sat down, the boys with a brandy, and just thought our thoughts. Son said he was glad he hadn’t gone as he would have had to get drunk to cope… It is easy to forget all he has lost and must still feel!
As I sit here at my kitchen table, looking out on a damp garden, I pray that those wonderful people never have to use the facilities they have helped build. I thank them with all my heart! They have raised a 5th of a new unit in one night!!!
Please forgive any spellings etc in this blog, and lack of pictures. I am publishing it now as I want to share the fab news with you now… I will add pictures etc later, but for now….
May you never have to use a Teenage Cancer Trust Unit; may all your endeavours be as successful as last night.
for the Auctioneer, who was fantastic.