Ok I'll admit I lost my mojo it's hard for to admit that especially as I've committed to the biggest challenge I'll probably undertake but fingers crossed it's on it's way back and I'm ready to get this challenge on the road.
You may (or may not) remember back in May that I said I would do my utmost to raise £100,000 for The Lullaby Trust in one year completing the challenge in September 2015 for Alexander's 10th Birthday.
The challenge is due to start next month and I'd love to start it with an awareness campaign on Social Media. A selfie or such like with a donation by text to our campaign, I know it's been done before but they always seem so successful I'd love to give it a shot.
I'm worried I'd be lying if I said I wasn't but I am determined and I will do my very very best to keep this campaign going but I know I am going to need so much help. Would you consider holding a fundraiser for me? It doesn't have to be huge just a gathering at home for friends, a tea party, a cake sale, anything that will help boost our total it is all going to help massively.
I'll make my apologies now for bombarding your Facebook and twitter pages but I'm not sure I have to words to express how important this research is to me and all those parents out there who put a healthy toddler to bed and then lost them to this silent killer. I'm not sure I can just carry on as normal knowing there is someone willing to undertake this investigation into Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood, someone trying to give us answers, without doing my bit to get it underway.
Please if you think you can help us in any way at all no matter how big or small you think it is I'd love to hear from you I really am going to need all the help I can get for this one.
Here it is the annual Mr and Mrs photo from Alexander's Charity Ball !!!
What an absolutely perfect night, all that planning and organising comes down to one night, a night that is nerve wracking in the build up but this year I was full of confidence that we would, once again, have a success on our hands.
So we start with room set up and this year we were lucky enough (thankfully) to be able to get into New Dock Hall on Friday to start the massive task of putting on 515 chair covers and bows! Once again this isn't possible without Sam, Karen and their fabulous team at Glamourpuss Weddings along with a little help from the Big Ball Central crew!
Kieron at Giant Events was also hard at work in the room setting up the fabulous Event Books which I have to say added the most unique element to the night, these books are Kieron's baby, designed and built by him they can be personalised perfectly to your event. I loved the turning pages and the fact that the content changed running alongside the event.
Saturday was spent in a haze of balloons and ribbon for perfectionist Sam whilst the rest of us either curled said ribbon, sprinkled table diamonds, lit centrepieces and generally prettied the room whilst lighting, projection and sound engineers worked to make the room glow like the Winter Wonderland we wanted.
I had my orders to be back in the room to brief everyone by 5.45, The Vegas Girls were in position feathers on and sequins glowing, the band was sound checked and the brilliant Ian Royce was all set and ready to go.
The doors were opened, drinks were poured and the the reception was filling up pretty quickly! Flitting in and out of the rooms I did manage to say Hi to a few people although not nearly as many as I would've liked but then the nerves really started to kick in and I found a quiet corner in the main room to take a few breaths. Joined by 'Roycey' we chatted and he really took my mind off things making me laugh and making me swoon by dropping in the fact he'd had an email from Gary Barlow the day before ... Imagine, 'The Captain' actually emailed him !!!
Ian is a genuinely lovely man who, without knowing me, agreed to spare his precious time to host the ball for nothing. It was just a casual mention on twitter that had him doing his damnedest, despite a busy Britain's Got Talent Schedule, to be there for us. I'm so so glad he did what a superb addition to the night he was and his generous donation to the auction saw it raise £4000 as well as another £6000 through our other lots.
Mark Waddington joined us again this year to blow our minds with his Close up magic and he was joined by Marc Lavelle to help him along as the attendance was so big. I know they were a huge hit with those they managed to see judging by the cheers and hollers from around the room!
This year I wanted to add a surprise element to the night with the addition of Singing waiters. Provided by Dave Molloy at Events Line the girls certainly had everyone fooled and had the room up and on their feet during a break in the casino and auction. I'm extremely grateful to Dave for helping us out and if you need to add a surprise element to your event the Singing Waiters are perfect
The Fabulous Vegas Girls were ever present and did a superb job in getting everyone to their casino tables on time, our table was appalling and lost all our cash within 2 spins however our highest rolling table did fabulously and bagged themselves the £500 cash prize. The Vegas Girls are always on duty and professional and I think will be a regular addition to our event from now on, I've seen some brilliant pictures of them with guests and am gutted I didn't take the opportunity to have my picture taken with them. Massive Thanks again to all the girls for their hard work.
And so the night continued with the raffle and Auction led perfectly by 'Roycey' he kept the whole room involved and encouraging lots of bids, we made more on our auction this year than we did at our first event back in 2010! I was left speechless at the amounts and I'd like to say Thank You to everyone who donated an auction lot to us.
During the night I do like to take a moment, stand back and look at what we managed to achieve and it is helped along by a select few. As I do a little wander and try to talk to most tables every year the same people stop me and allow me that time, without them I wouldn't take the chance so Thanks to them.
It was dancing time with the fantastic Vibetown as our band for the night they sang their socks (and our shoes) off, for the rest of the night the dancefloor was jam packed, it was absolutely brilliant and I loved that they were even taking requests at one point due to heckling from the front.
All too soon the DJ was calling time at the bar and the night was drawing to a close the night had gone unbelievably fast, 7 hours had gone in the blink of an eye and all that was left to do was count up to our total.
Alexander's Charity Ball 2014 was a resounding success we raised over £27,000 for The Lullaby Trust but none of it would be possible without the generosity of sponsors and prize donators. The more successful the ball becomes the more we need the help of sponsors. Glamourpuss, Who Ate My Crayons and Giant Events donated their time, expertise and contacts for nothing which allowed the night to grow but we also couldn't put our ideas into practice without the help of our cash sponsors Stephen Crowther Associates, Coda Studios, Bapp Group, IT@Spectrum, Lancaster Property Services and of course New Dock Hall.
Thank You everyone involved in any way you are helping me to create an amazing legacy for my little star, I hope that we are able to continue making Alexander's Charity Ball a success with your help. It's not easy putting myself out there time and again, telling Alexander's story over and over but I know that it is more than worth it for the good it will do and the people it will help through The Lullaby Trust.
Tell me about your night, what you enjoyed, how you felt it went and share your pictures with us over on Facebook
See You Next Year !!!!!
So I've a few things to catch you all up with ...
Big Ball Central is going full flow at the minute and I am getting quite a few enquiries for places and tables for 2014 which is superb. Numbers are up to about 470 at the minute which is mind blowing for me and I need to say a huge Thank You to all of you who have gone out and made the effort to fill a table or two (or three). I am still taking bookings for tables so if you have been umming and ahhing then New Dock can accommodate so many more so don't delay get in touch.
There are still a few deposits outstanding so I would appreciate if you could get those to me asap as your final total is due on 30th November.
I had an amazing email last week from Dave Molloy offering his help as an events organiser all for free! This rarely happens I know but for me I have 3 fabulous companies doing this now, Glamourpuss Weddings, Giant Events and now Events Line.
Having met with Dave last week I know that Keiron (Giant Events) and myself are excited about what we can achieve with Dave's help, listening to the two of them talking lighting and AV made me chuckle and I'm very lucky to have two such passionate and knowledgeable guys helping me out with what is turning out to be a mammoth event. I don't want to spoil the surprises we have in store but I am very very very excited!!!!!
Last week Sarah Nicholson the founder of The Mumdrum a newish parenting site spoke to me and did a blog piece as part of their Safer Sleep promotion alongside The Lullaby Trust. Sarah took a great angle for me not concentrating just on our loss but what we have gone on to do since and how The Lullaby Trust has helped us carry on if you didn't manage to read it here it is http://mumdrum.com/the-mumdrum-blog/b/weblog/archive/2013/10/15/nicola-richardson-the-lullaby-trust-alexander-39-s-ball.aspx Thank You Sarah you were lovely to speak to and am glad to hear the campaign got great feedback.
On the same day I had a meeting with Gill Ryder, The Lullaby Trust's Regional Development Officer for the Yorkshire and East Midlands Area. The money we raised in 2012 went towards funding a Seminar for Health Professionals in our region and I'm pleased to say that it will be going ahead on 29th November. Gill asked me to play a part in the day by standing up and speaking to these professionals about our experience, everyone is different when it comes to such things and by making them aware of their actions and how they can be perceived hopefully we can get a consistent standard of care and even in the 6 years since Alexander died there have been procedures put in place that I know could have helped us more back then. I'm immensely proud that the money you donated is being used to great effect.
On a side note I know Alexander's Charity Ball donation paid for a family day in the Yorkshire region as well this was held yesterday (unfortunately we couldn't attend) at Butlins in Skegness, I hope everyone who went had a lovely day.
As you can see from our picture we have a spectacular poster advertising for 2014 a HUGE Thank You to Tia at Who Ate My Crayons for donating her skill and time to complete this for us it's beautiful I love it, watch out for her designs on the night for our brochure! Go take a look at Tia's website and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter,mention cake I bet she'll follow you back!!!
So there we have it things are moving on at a head spinning pace and I know that 2014 is going to be the event of the year
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