I can hardly believe I am writing this, but Saturday night’s Snowman Spectacular Fundraising Ball raised an astonishing £415,000!
It was the best Ball yet with a jam-packed night of fantastic entertainment including an exclusive live performance from Lulu, which got everyone on their feet dancing.
But of course, the reason for all the merriment is to raise vital funds, and awareness of, Sussex’s only children’s hospice.
As I have said before, we receive very little funding from central government. The number of children who need our care is increasing, our care costs continue to rise and fundraising has proved extremely challenging this year, so the money raised at the Ball is going to make a huge difference.
The most moving part of the night, when the whole room fell still and quiet, was when Faye Mitchell, whose daughter, Leilani, was cared for by Chestnut Tree House, stood to give a speech.
Leilani died in March 2012. Faye spoke so bravely about the journey her family had been on since Leilani’s birth, through to her death.
She told the audience how scared she was at the thought of her daughter needing to use a children’s hospice in the first place, but how, after the family’s first visit to Chestnut Tree House, she wished they had come sooner.
She said we gave her family time to be themselves and have fun together, safe in the knowledge that our Care Team were always on hand whenever they were needed.
Everyone stood to applaud Faye at the end of her speech, and many were moved to tears.
Thank you so much to Faye for sharing her story, and thank you to our guests who listened and then dug deep to raise much-needed funds so we can help even more children in Sussex like Leilani.
Chestnut Tree House, in Dover Lane, Arundel, cares for over 280 children and young adults from 0-25 years of age with progressive life-limiting conditions.
For more information on Chestnut Tree House visit the website www.chestnut-tree-house.org.uk