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
Are You Joining Us?
Can you help?
There are many many things involved in organising a Charity Ball, it's no mean feat let me tell you and the pressure is on to make each night as good and even better than the last.
Our popularity has grown and grown and from 200 people attending in 2011 we are expecting over 400 for 2014.
The word is spreading so attendance is increasing and I am overjoyed that so many want to join us in remembering our son but in order to make it the success I want it to be I need a few things.
If you provide us with a service, sponsorship or prize donation then you will have a captive audience of over 400 on the night plus the views on our website are hitting between 200 and 600 views per day...Can you afford not to be a part of it?
Below is a bit of a wishlist and if you feel you can help then please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or via our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/AlexandersCharityBall
1) Goody Bags - I'd love every guest to leave Alexander's Ball with a little memento of the night. For this I'd need someone to supply the bags and vouchers and samples to go in them. Can you help?
2) Can you do a promotional video for Alexander's Charity Ball maybe to include a word from our sponsors as well as snippets from me and maybe The Lullaby Trust and then film our night so people can see exactly what they get for their money. I'm sure our guests will be happy to rave about us on film on the night!
3) Raffle and Auction prizes - This is increasingly the hardest request, there are so many great people doing great things for great charities that I fear the pot is very increasingly empty. Please consider a donation of a prize to us it doesn't have to be an extravagant prize, the raffle alone can raise about £4000 for us which is a superb amount to lose if I don't do it.
4) Despite lots of asking we still don't have anyone to design our posters and brochures, if this is something you are able to do for us we'd very much appreciate it. I am hoping this is an ongoing relationship with ACB so if you are willing to help please do get in touch
Please please share the website, blog and facebook page to everyone you can, if you are a blogger please consider us for a post. Alexander's Charity Ball is not just about raising money it's about awareness, Sudden Infant Deaths are still happening and the number of babies dying every year needs to reduce but that can only happen with your help.
Thank You to everyone who has helped so far
It's nearly time !!!
Alexander's Charity Ball 2014 planning is under way and we have lots of exciting things in store to announce very very soon.
We are working with Kieron Armstrong at Giant Event Management who is one of our sponsors this year and with his vision I am so excited to see where 2014 is going to go.
Bigger and better I hope, I'd really like to have 400 people attend this year so please please keep spreading the word about us an get those friends and family members to join you on your table.
We are still looking for sponsors to help us alongside Stephen Crowther Associates, Glamourpuss Weddings, Giant Event Management, Coda Architects and IT@Spectrum so please get in touch if you would like to be involved
Watch this space I hope to be back soon to tell you all about it ...
Welcome to our blog I will try as regularly as I can to keep you up to date with The Ball, The Charity and any other news !