Hospice charity ellenor’s Orange Ball, which took place in London on Friday night (4 November) raised a record £77,000 – funds which will help it in its work with families facing terminal illness across Kent and South East London and could fund one of the charity’s Specialist Children’s Nurses for 18 months.
ellenor’s Children’s Hospice Care team is the only service in Kent to provide care to seriously ill children in the comfort of their own home. ellenor gives round the clock care, 365 days a year and, as a charity, needs to raise over £6.7 million each year to care for families facing terminal illness.
Held at The Grange, St Paul’s and attended by more than 200 people – the Orange Ball was compered by ellenor Patrons, Charlotte Hawkins from Good Morning Britain and Phil Spencer from Location Location Location.
“How fortunate Kent is to have a charity such as ellenor, which takes end-of-life care into children’s homes,” said Phil Spencer. “It’s a service we all hope we’ll never need – but the fact that ellenor provides it, is incredible.”
Added Charlotte Hawkins: “I am very honoured to be a Patron of this really special charity. I was inspired to get involved when I met the Read family – who ellenor supported when both of their young sons were ill and very sadly died. ellenor helped to keep the family together at this really difficult time; everyone involved does an absolutely fantastic job.”
Also supporting the event were the charity’s Patrons Tom Parker from The Wanted and his fiancée Kelsey Hardwick and the actress Cheryl Fergison – who auctioned off a rare Eastenders script in the auction. They were joined by Kent cricketer, Darren Stevens and SAS Who Dares Wins star Jason Fox.
On arrival, guests were entertained by singer Anya Holweger, while enjoying a glass of champagne and the opportunity to start bidding on some exciting silent auction items. Also keeping guests entertained were caricaturist, Nicholas Bronowksi and magician, Stephen Karl.
The star-studded evening included a fact or fiction game, with the chance to win a luxury break to Cornwall, and a live auction – hosted by ex-England cricketer, Chris Cowdrey. Lots included a morning with Charlotte Hawkins on the set of Good Morning Britain and lunch with Phil Spencer on the set of Location Location Location.
A surprise auction lot was the opportunity to go on stage with Tom Parker on the night, ahead of a set from the Buble Brothers. Tom got the room to its feet with a spectacular rendition of ‘Handbags and Gladrags’.
Following dinner, guests watched a film about one of ellenor’s young patients, Finley Jones.His parents, Sarah and Mike – who were special guests at the Ball - explained how, as a tiny baby, doctors said Finley was unlikely to survive, having contracted Group B streptococcal Meningitis. His ventilator was turned off and his parents said their goodbyes. Finley, however, had different ideas. ellenor nurses supported the family to bring him home and, at nearly three years old, they continue to provide medical care and respite in the family’s own home.
Moved by what Sarah and Mike had to say, a number of guests very generously pledged to pay for hours and days of care with £24 paying for an hour of care provided by one of the Specialist Children’s Nurses at ellenor.
“We currently face a huge challenge, as there are many more families out there like Finley’s who urgently need our help,” said Claire Cardy, Chief Executive at ellenor. “The only way we can continue to expand our services is through the generous support of our community. A huge thank you to everyone who made our second Orange Ball so successful – including our wonderful celebrity supporters.”