Hollywood glamour at our gala Ball

The Grand Hotel in Brighton played host to a night of glitz and glamour on Saturday 13 October for the 2018 Rockinghorse charity Ball – which raised an incredible £90,000!

Sponsored by DMH Stallard, the Hollywood-themed event welcomed over 400 guests to the annual fundraiser, which included entertainment from the charismatic ‘Frank & Dean Show’ and big-band ‘Down for the Count’, with guests enjoying a taste of classic la la land music until the early hours.

Those attending included The Mayor of Brighton & Hove – Councillor Dee Simson – and MasterChef 2018 winner, Kenny Tutt. The cookery champion donated an auction prize with the chance for a lucky winner to be treated to a delicious three-course meal cooked by Kenny himself at the winners’ home, for up to 10 people.

The prize received a flurry of bids and went for an impressive £2,500, which quickly doubled to £5,000 after the auction prize received huge interest from guests and was awarded to two lucky winners.

During the evening, £90,000 was raised for our current ventilator appeal. We are raising funds to provide the High Dependency Unit (HDU) at The Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital (the Alex) in Brighton with additional non-invasive ventilation systems.

The state-of-the-art ventilators teamed with the innovative Optiflow breathing systems (also funded by us), can effectively treat children admitted to the Alex with respiratory issues.

To support the appeal, parent and Rockinghorse supporter, Johanna Zakiewicz, delivered a touching and inspiring speech explaining how the ventilators helped saved the life of her daughter Aya Willow last year.

Born on 16 July at the Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) in Haywards Heath by emergency C-section, Johanna’s daughter Aya Willow suffered from severe Meconium Aspiration Syndrome, caused by a long and difficult labour. She was put into an induced coma for 10 days while doctors in three different hospitals battled to save her life.

Addressing the room, Johanna said: “When we tell people our story they say we were unlucky, but I know better – we are the lucky ones – our daughter Aya is now a healthy one-year-old. She is here because of the actions of some very special people at the Princess Royal Hospital, the Trevor Mann Baby Unit, Great Ormond Street and the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital.

“Aya spent four weeks on a ventilator in the Alex and it breaks my heart to imagine the choices having to be made by staff when they don’t have enough ventilators for all the children who need them. Rockinghorse wants to ensure that such choices never have to be made.”

Following the Ball, Ryan Heal, Chief Executive of Rockinghorse, said: “Thanks to the incredible support received at the Ball, we have been able to reach our fundraising target to purchase more potentially life-saving ventilators for the High Dependency Unit at the Alex.

“This exceptional amount not only enables us to purchase the five ventilators outright, but the surplus from the event will be donated towards our other existing projects at the children’s hospital. We are so proud to be able to deliver on this hugely important appeal, none of which has been possible without the amazing support from our sponsors and guests on the night.”

Huge thanks to our wonderful sponsors and guests for making the event possible and helping us raise such a huge amount of money – including our headline sponsor DMH Stallard and our co-sponsors; Cardens Accountants, GAP Solutions, City Cabs Brighton, Potter Raper Partnership and The Grand Brighton.

Watch this space for all the official pictures from the evening, courtesy of Stephen Johnson Photography, and our Ball film, courtesy of Tom Zanelli from Creative Bungalow. Both Stephen and Tom very kindly donated their time and services for the event.

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