What a whirlwind of a week that's been! This time last week we were getting ready to leave for London and frantically waiting for the official launch from The Lullaby Trust so we could announce it on here, Facebook and Twitter.
Yesterday I had the honour and privilege of being at Number 10 Downing Street at reception hosted by Mrs Samantha Cameron for The Lullaby Trust.
I took a guest with me, David Cross a close friend of ours for a long time. David is the founder and company director of Coda Studios in Sheffield and along with his wife Toni have been a fabulous support both personally and with our fundraising. Coda sponsors the ball every year, they sell raffle tickets for us and they hold their own fundraising events as well.
Sometimes for me to say Thank you doesn't really cover the depth of emotion I feel at the generosity of our sponsors, I only wish I could have taken all of them with me.
Lots of people have told me this week how brave we were to go on National telly and speak about our story, it's not brave!
I don't want to be doing national telly, I don't want to be at a reception at Number 10, I don't want this website to exist and I don't want to host Alexander's Ball. What I do want is for my family to be complete again, for our missing member to come back and make this ache in my heart go away, I want hugs and kisses from all 5 of my boys, I want Alexander back!
This is never going to happen and so I keep him an active member of our family by fundraising and raising awareness of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Alexander gives me the strength to carry on day to day, to tell his story in the hope that one day SIDS will no longer exist, that families won't know the heartache of that missing baby as we do. Along the way I hope that we reach out, to let those families that are going through their worst nightmare, know that they are not alone, that there is an amazing charity out there to help them and that there are other parents willing to offer a shoulder to unburden themselves on.
It was amazing to see the wonderful supporters of The Lullaby Trust at Number 10 yesterday, that we are all working towards the same goal and by sharing our sad stories, will ultimately help The Lullaby Trust in their mission.
Thank You everyone for all your good wishes, support and comments. As the most phenomenal week comes to an end I wonder what I've got to look forward to in the future with The Lullaby Trust...
Keep watching this space for Alexander's Charity Ball 2014 announcement !!!
So, that's it! Done and dusted for another year and what an absolutely fabulous night!
Starting at 10am with Sam and her Glamourpuss team (and a couple of novice hands) there were 300 sashes, 30 mirrors, Vases and Light bases, over 3000 feathers, millions of table diamonds, 1 blow up Champagne bottle, 50ish balloons and one emergency trip back to Barnsley!
The room looked stunning and as always Sam gave The Queens Hotel Ballroom the WOW factor. Everyone commented on how stunning it all looked so Thank You Sam.
The decor was then given a sparkly boost with the addition of a Twinkle Dancefloor supplied by Wedding Venue Lighting if you haven't seen one in action I have to say it beats dancing on a plain old dance floor, I think this is going to have to be a regular addition to The Ball now! Lighting in the room was given an ambient pink glow by Martin from Carta Projects as well as our lovely logo on the wall, I have to say even though we had a little hiccup with the lights due to The Queens electrics not being 100% Martin didn't hesitate to drive all the way back to us to sort it out. Excellent service and I am trying to restrain myself from looking at all the fantastic things Carta Projects can do for us for 2014!!!
That was it the night was under-way, the speech was nervously spoken whilst trying to hold back the tears and take in the 300 pairs of eyes staring back at me, the meal was delicious and the drinks were flowing nicely.
Our entertainment was massive hit so once again I need to say Thank You to Graeme Cox
http://www.party-joe.com/fr_home.cfm for starting the evening off with his wonderful voice and Mark Waddington who entertained brilliantly with his magic, the amount of people talking about the tricks at breakfast made me chuckle alot. http://yorkshireweddingmagician.com/
Func on the Rocks were unbelievable no sooner had they said hello and started their set then the dance floor was swamped, you did a brilliant job guys the dance floor never emptied whilst you were playing and so many people came to me to say how good you were http://funcontherocks.com/ Also our Fun Casino was once again a massive hit so Thank You to Ian Mac and Grosvenor Fun Casino's everyone had a blast and lots of very happy prize winners.
There are some brilliant pictures floating about from the night some of which are here, if you were there and would like to share them please tag us on facebook I'd love to see them
Please please share your memories with us, what you enjoyed and maybe what you'd like to see in the future, all ideas are gratefully received.
And so to our total ...
£16029 is the total raised from the sales of all tickets including the Raffle, Auction Prizes, Sales of Fun Casino Money and Golden Envelopes on the night and the donation from our Photographer. Also included in this total is £410 from Penistone Players, our local Theatre Group who I have to say did a great job Thank You All.
I'm overwhelmed I wanted £15000 and hoped we could achieve it so THANK YOU all so so much for playing a part in it. I now need to have a chat with FSID and talk about where this money is best placed, some of which will be going into research as normal but I would really like to keep this in Yorshire and have a legacy for Alexander in his home county.
It also appears that I may have booked Alexander's Charity Ball 2014 so after a few months off I shall come back to you all ready to start again!!!
This is the final post of 2012 as things wind down here at Big Ball Central for Christmas. I realise that I have so many people to Thank for their help and generosity in helping to make Alexander's Charity Ball 2013 the biggest and best yet.
Over the last couple of weeks Richard Crossfield, a local businessman and friend of ours has offered sponsorship and through his generosity (and a little bit of cheekiness on my part) we are able to light the ballroom in the most stunning of ways. Richard and Danielle have been great supporters of the ball and inadvertently Richard helped us through when Alexander died, we had just confirmed our house move the day before. I don't think we've actually ever said Thank You formally for Richard's help during what could have been an even more difficult situation.
This week I have booked our pre dinner entertainment as well in the form of Graeme Cox or Party Joe, on a Mum's Christmas Night Out Graeme was playing at the pub, he was brilliant and so I decided to bite the bullet and ask if by any chance he was free. I think he's just what we need to set the atmosphere at the start of the night and if anyone has any requests for a song let me know and I can ask Graeme to add it to his set list. There are some previews of songs on his website so please go and take a look _http://party-joe.com/fr_home.cfm
So finally all that remains is for me to say a few Thank You's to all our sponsors for the evening, everyone who has bought a ticket to attend, all our raffle prize donators and everyone who has supported us.
Your belief in my cause and me is overwhelming and without it none of this would go ahead
Have an amazing Christmas and a very Prosperous 2013
See you in the New Year !
This is long overdue so my apologies to Alison and Jolly Tots for the time delay!
Things are hotting up at Big Ball Central, ticket money is trickling in and our entertainment has been confirmed.
This wouldn't be possible without the aid of sponsors and here is a Big Thank You to another of our fabulous supporters.
Jolly Tots Soft Play is Penistone's only soft play centre and was originally opened on 9th February 2009 !!! It was the brainchild of two local mums who saw a gap in the market and has gone from strength to strength with Alison at the helm. It's a haven for mums with kids under 5 giving us the space to sit and have a coffee and a slice of far too tempting cake whilst the littlies play in the perfect sized play equipment.
Since opening Jolly's has been a regular supporter of FSID for which I owe them a debt of gratitude. Alison regular holds shopping evenings raising money and she can often be found selling our raffle tickets and rallying interest in Alexanders Charity Ball.
This year they have gone one step further and are sponsoring our Magician for the night Mark Waddington, once again the support of Alison is overwhelming not only for the ball, raffle and now sponsorship but as a friend.
Thank You Alison and Jolly Tots x
Jolly's has a Facebook Page so please go over and give them a like, Joseph and I have made some great friends through Jolly's and it has become a regular event in our weekly diary. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jolly-Tots/66613472254?fref=ts
This is a guest post from Helen at Photography for Little People about who she is and why she supports Alexander's Charity Ball
When I first heard about Alexander's Charity and the tragedy that had
struck Nicola and her family I felt a tremendous wave of sadness and
wondered how you could ever continue on lives path. I must admit I
came home that night, at the time my own son was 17months old and I held him so tight thinking if that had of been me!
Anyway as I recently started my own business I was looking to work
with a charity that would be part of me and Photography for Little
People Sheffield. I felt after all these years of dreaming of my own business that part of it was also to help raise awareness and monies for a worthwhile cause. I had looked at lots of charities but none
that struck a cord with me, until of course I met Nicola.
I spent many a night thinking and reading Nicola's story, which then prompted me to research FSID even more. I arranged a coffee with Nicola and I knew within minutes that Alexander's Charity was the
one for me. Something inside knew that I had to do all I could, however small to help raise awareness and do what I could to show that there are more families than we know who are suffering in the way Nicola and her family have and still do. And without the families such as Nicola and the charity, all of those other families in need would have no where to turn to. Realistically, this is Alex's charity and one Nicola has poured her heart and soul into. I wanted Nicola to know she could trust me in promoting the charity in a positive way, so I really was on tenderhooks until Nicola expressed her delights in having PLP be part of something so personal. However all in all my small contribution makes me feel part of something special and unique.
So what have I been doing? Well so far I have just had all my artwork re done to include Alexander's Charity logo and links to the charity on the Sheffield PCT trust. I am currently working on getting the link on my business page and on my next print run of leaflets and posters, the logo will be proudly part of my work. On
top of that I am actively seeking a celebrity to agree to have an impression of their hand, along with a signed photo to be auctioned on the night of the Ball! Both me and Nicola are hoping that if we
get the celebrity on board they may even attend.....so watch this space!!!!!
On a personal note and although I never met Alex, I am sure he would be so proud of his mummy who is a true inspiration. And because of Nicola I feel that I can spread the awareness of Alex but in a truly
positive way and as mummy it has made me more thankful for my very own piece of perfection!
Helen is the busiest person ever but has still taken the time out to include ACB as part of her work, we are still in the early stages of this collaboration so we are both working on ideas to make this work for us both. Please take a look at PLP's main website they have some lovely shots and impressions and do a great amount of work for charity _ Helen is also on Facebook so please go over and give her a like by clicking here
So whilst in the shower I got to thinking, it's actually where I think and reflect the most. Probably because it's the quietest room in the house and the time I get a little bit of me time!
This isn't an easy post but for me I wanted to write a personal post about the things that come to me when I least expect them, sometimes I can appear detached from the issues when the fundraiser in me takes over but these are things I remember from that day the things that are imprinted on my memory.
I Remember ...
the day it happened, the worst actual day of my whole 34 years. The shower I took before 'waking' my son, the moment I touched that bedroom door handle and knew with absolute certainty that something was drastically wrong.
ringing Ian who was on his way to work, lying to him just so he would be careful driving home.
ringing our parents and my Mum strangely asking if I'd phoned an ambulance.
his foot peeking out from a blanket as the paramedics carried him to the ambulance.
the car journey to the hospital, the hope that Ian had that things would be ok and knowing deep down there was no hope.
the look on the faces of the 3 men that had tried to save my baby.
the sound of my husbands hope disappearing in the instant we saw that little person laying lifeless on a massive hospital bed.
asking for a Catholic priest (I haven't set foot in a Catholic Church in a long time) and thinking when he arrived that his shoes were terrible and had no laces in them!
the sight of a Dad from my boys school (who is a Vicar) walking towards us and feeling able to let go, he and his family are now a very dear set of friends for us.
ringing Shelley (a Twin Mum, a member of a fabulous message board for parents of twins and someone with whom I'd met only a handful of times) I cannot remember exactly what I said or how long I was on the phone but it was important to me at that time to let the 'friends' I'd made over 2 years know.
all those sad faces arriving at our door with no idea what to expect or what to say.
the weather, it snowed !
the police. I can't tell you what they looked like, who they were (I know they were locals) or what they said but I know they were there not in an intruding way they were just there.
my Dad taking Tom and Jack on endless bracing walks and building snowmen in the garden.
the endless cups of tea, it wore my kettle out !
the emptiness, the heartache, the fear.
watching Harrison our surviving twin searching in their hiding spots looking for the other half of him.
Most things are a blur or feel a little like I dreamed them but 5 and half years later these are the things that pop into my head when I least expect them too. I know I will never ever forget the events of that day and I'm sorry if this post is a little difficult for you to read but I needed to share it, for me but to also try and make people understand a little more.
Thanks for reading
So it's been a while and I have few exciting titbits for you all !
I am so pleased to announce that we have been able to secure another sponsor for 2013 and that sponsor is Doran, Scott, Williams Management and Training Consultants.
Myself and Ian met the founder of DSW, Patrick Doran and his daughter Hayley earlier this year at a networking event held at Tankersley Manor. Patrick is a lovely, friendly man and we started chatting about why we were attending which is when the subject of the ball came up. You know me I like to talk and I'm not shy in talking about what happened and during the evening Patrick mentioned he would love to help us and the rest they say is history.
Patrick and DSW's help is a weight off my mind and whilst I am still on the lookout for potential sponsors this donation means that the pressure is taken off a little.
Thank You so Much Patrick
Today I have also confirmed the attendance of Mark Waddington a Yorkshire based Magician who I heard of through Twitter's #YorkshireHour. I really want to get lots of Yorkshire based companies and people involved, this is where the money we raise will be spent and well Yorkshire is God Own Country ...Right !!!
I can't tell you how much every donation to the ball means to me, I'm honoured that they feel that Alexander and FSID is worth their time be it the purchase of a ticket to attend, a raffle prize donation, sponsorship or a reduced price for their services.
Thank You to everyone who has given, we will make a difference!
Why do I support the Charity? Well, seeing as though Ian is one of my best friends Alex’s death was bound to affect all those close to him profoundly. For me there is also another reason that will resound with any parent. Ava had just been born (my first) and I was still coming to terms with the fact that I was a dad and responsible for another little person. I was also still in the phase of making sure she was breathing at night…
We had decided to combine a business trip to Filey with our first over night stay with our little girl and were travelling up the A64 with a work colleague, my wife and Ava. I missed a call from Dan as I was on the phone to a client. I don’t really recall what happened next, whether I called back or if my wife took a call. All I do know is that I found out that Alex had died. What sticks in my memory is that the morning seemed to pass on autopilot with the meeting with a client discussing business and then leaving my colleague there as we drove off. I drove the car for a few miles then collapsed crying at the wheel. We came straight home.
Alex wasn’t a baby in my mind; he was a toddler and way past the point of danger. How could this have happened? How could Ian and Nicola survive this? What would I do? All those awful questions you ask yourself time and time again.
I can honestly say that hardly a day goes by whereby I don’t think of Alex and the impact it’s had on my life as a dad. I like to think I am a better dad because of it and I like to think that his life has left a permanent impression not only on his family but on all those around him.
I have been meaning to write to you and tell you this for years… never got round to it. Never really thought it was fair to bring it up but now it’s said. Every time I kiss my kids good night and read them a story I cherish that I have them.
Dave and Toni have been brilliant friends and a tremendous amount of support to us over the last 5 and a half years. Ava and Fred are fabulously funny, well rounded kids who are a credit to them and without The Cross Family to support and encourage I'm not sure that The Ball would exist in it's current form.
Thank You both from the bottom of our hearts.
Nicola and Ian x
We are delighted to announce that our Band for 2013 will be Func on the Rocks featuring vocals from Cherie Gears.
Func on the Rocks are local to Leeds and have a great repertoire of songs for us to dance the night away so if you have a special request let us know and I'm sure the band would love to include it on the night.
Please visit the website and have a listen to the soulful sound of the band and give them a like on Twitter and Facebook.
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 !