Brighton turns Bollywood at charity Ball

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The annual charity Midsummer Ball, sponsored by Skerritts, took place at the Hilton Brighton Metropole on Saturday (18 June), in support of Rockinghorse and the DM Thomas Foundation for Young People.

500 guests were treated to an Indian-themed evening of food, fundraising and entertainment, in a bid to raise funds to improve the care and wellbeing of young people in Sussex. The event is well-known for its Strictly Come Dancing-style dance competition, welcoming four local personalities who took part in the charity challenge, which was organised by entertainment company E3.

Those challenged to dance a traditional Bollywood show piece were; Michael Yardy, former Sussex County Cricket Club Captain, Henry Butler, owner of Butler’s Wines, Kirsty Pollard, General Manager at Brighton Marina, and former Blue’s Clues TV presenter, Kevin Duala. They were supported by dancers from Brighton Academy, who joined the amateurs for a Bollywood-style dance-off, in front of judges David Hill, CEO of E3, professional dancer and actress Emma Green, and last year’s winner, Barry Carden from Cardens Accountants.

Compered by Danny Pike from BBC Sussex, Michael Yardy was crowned as the 2016 winner, and between them the four amateur dancers raised over £7,000, which is fantastic. During the evening, guests were treated to a sumptuous Indian feast provided by Madhus, fine wines and cheese provided by La Cave á Fromage, as well as an opportunity to enjoy the famous indoor dodgems, sponsored by Brighton and Hove City Cabs. There were also a number of fundraising activities, including a game of ‘heads and tails’, wish trees, and a charity auction.

Over £80,000 was raised for both charities, and together, we are making a joint contribution for a very special project at Drove Road respite centre in Brighton. The centre provides support for children and young people with severe learning and physical disabilities – many of whom are outpatients of the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital (the Alex) – with the aim to provide a multi-sensory space for young people to play, relax, learn and develop their social skills.

The money raised at the Midsummer Ball will be used to completely overhaul the outdoor space at Drove Road, providing a sensory garden experience for children to enjoy. In addition, funds will also be used to build a brand new sensory room within the centre itself, maximising the impact of the collaborative effort between Rockinghorse and the DM Thomas Foundation for Young People.

Simon Sheehan, Director of the DM Thomas Foundation for Young People, said: “We are delighted to partner once again with Rockinghorse Children’s Charity. The generosity shown tonight will help provide a positive impact for children and young people with severe learning and physical disabilities at Drove Road respite centre who need our support.”

Ryan Heal, CEO of Rockinghorse Children’s Charity, added: “By supporting the outpatients of the Alex through these incredible centres in Sussex, we can help lift the burden at the children’s hospital and ease re-admissions as well as giving children the best possible experiences within the centres themselves.”

Keep an eye out for all the pictures from the event, courtesy of our photographer Chris Demott, which we’ll share with you very soon.

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