On Saturday 7th October 2017, the NPRF held its 2nd Charity Ball at the Grand Connaught Rooms in London. Over 350 guests joined us for what was a fantastic and special evening. Following a welcome drinks reception, we overcame the challenge of persuading guests to move through to dinner by enticing them to see the excellent first dance set from the Bond Girls.
As is tradition, we played Heads and Tails before dinner (renamed Goodies and Baddies for the evening with people choosing whether James Bond or Jaws would appear instead of the traditional coin toss). The three finalists won bottles of champagne, kindly donated by the Secret Cellar in Tunbridge Wells.
Having previously launched our Silent Auction online prior to the event, this re-opened as the evening got underway. Jumblebee ran the silent auction for us, providing iPads on all tables for bidding. This proved very popular with active bidding taking place throughout the night.
The Grand Connaught Rooms provided a delicious 3-course meal. An extensive wine list was provided by Secret Cellar and we are grateful for their support and prizes.
We paused after the main course for a presentation about the fundraising and research undertaken by the charity over the last 6 years, providing supporters old and new with an understanding of the importance of the work the NPRF has been able to do with their help. This was followed by a video of William and friends singing Ed Sheeran’s “Photograph”, with a number of changes to the lyrics to tell our story better. There was an audible gasp as the video started with a message from Ed himself! The singers, including William, came out on to the dancefloor during the final verse and sang a short piece live. The singers were rewarded with a standing ovation from the room which surprised them!
The live auction was held during dessert. Chris Mills expertly ran the auction for us once again and kept the bidding lively and entertaining. Both the silent and live auctions were very well supported and we are very grateful for everyone who donated prizes. Through their generosity we were able to source all the prizes ourselves with no reserves, so 100% of the winning bids come to the charity. In particular, a thank you to Turquoise Holidays for once again donating a wonderful holiday, this time to the Maldives!
After dinner, the Bond Girls performed their second dance routine to Goldfinger, which was again very well received. We were delighted to have the Bond Girls with us, who not only performed brilliantly but also helped us out with various activities throughout the evening, including presenting the winners of the best dressed competition with their trophies! The Bond Girls certainly added some glamour and vitality to the evening.
It was then time to get everyone up and dancing and the band Re:cover came out to play their first set to a packed dance floor. Before their second set, Re:cover ran a disco for us before finishing the evening off with some more brilliant live tracks. The dance floor was full all night, with everyone calling for more at 1am! Re:cover were excellent and unsurprisingly we have recieved some wonderful positive feedback about them and the set list which had been specifically designed to appeal to the right generation! They clearly got it right!
A charity ball wouldn’t be the same without a vodka luge and ours was no exception as our Bond-themed vodka luge was enjoyed by many. We are grateful to VitrX for sponsoring the vodka luge and to the City Pub Company for donating the vodka! We would also like to take this opportunity to thank our other sponsors, Carrington Investments and Kimmre, we really appreciate the support you have all given us.
Finally, our grateful thanks to the Ball organising committee of Ann O’Neil, Fiona Benzecry, Genevieve Roy, Helen Caterall, Jeff Tipper, Tim Wallis, and Jo & Steve Nagle, who worked tirelessly to ensure the evening ran smoothly.
Possibly the highlight of the evening was William and his friends coming out on stage to sing part of the song live. They had a blast making the video (with thanks to Michelle McLellan for sorting out the recording) and the icing on the cake was the standing ovation they received on the night.
The NPRF wouldn’t be able to do everything it has without the support of so many people and therefore the final thank you has to go to everyone who came along and supported the charity at the Ball; we hope you had a fantastic evening and learnt a little more about the NPRF.
David and Sue French