Midsummer Ball raises over £290,000
Our star studded Midsummer Ball at Banqueting House raised a staggering £290,000 in support of the charity’s work with seriously ill children and their families. The Midsummer Ball took place on Wednesday 1 June and was supported by Coutts.
Together for Short Lives’ special-guests experienced a magical midsummer night to remember, enjoying a champagne reception, and then dining on an elegant and sumptuous menu. James Toseland and Melanie Sykes were the Ball’s fabulous hosts for the night, introducing talent from Gabrielle Aplin, Ella Henderson and Britain’s Got Talent finalist, Beau Dermott. Following an evening of stellar performances, Ball guests danced the night away with Soul II Soul, including the legendary 80s club classic Back to Life.
Unfortunately, Simon Cowell was unable to attend, however, his partner Lauren Silverman hosted the event on his behalf, making the key-note introductory speech.
James Toseland said:
“I was so thrilled to co-host this year’s Together for Short Lives Ball with Melanie Sykes. I attended the Ball last year and I saw first-hand what an amazing charity this is. I was honoured to play such an important role in this event to help raise much needed funds for the brave children and families that Together for Short Lives is here for.”
Melanie Sykes added:
"I was delighted to co-host the Midsummer Ball for Together for Short Lives with James Toseland. It was an emotional, incredible evening with some fabulous entertainment and of course, most importantly, raised lots of money for such an important cause."
Simon Cowell said:
"For a number of years I have had the privilege of being able to work closely with Together For Short Lives and have seen what incredible work they do. Getting to meet and know the families makes you realise what an incredible job each hospice does. They provide comfort and support and invaluable medical care from the most amazing team of people. A visit to one of the hospices will change your life. It did to mine."
Barbara Gelb OBE, CEO for Together for Short Lives added
“Our Midsummer Ball was such a special occasion and we are all overwhelmed by the generosity of our Patron Simon Cowell and all the wonderful supporters, guests and stars who made it such an unforgettable occasion.
I’m deeply moved by everyone’s generous support for our important work with the UK’s 49,000 children and young people with life-shortening conditions. The Ball has raised a staggering £290,000, and these vital funds will help children and families to have the lifeline support they need so they can make every moment count.”
After dinner, James Stratton, of world renowned auctioneers Bonhams, guided guests through the charity auction raising funds to support Together for Short Lives work for children and families. Luxury lots secured the very highest bidding when they went under the hammer – including an ultimate sporting package, a unique slice of musical history - 1D and the Beatles collection, a Harrods personal shopping day and exclusive Princess Yachts behind-the-scenes experience, a unique bespoke Aspinal of London handbag and - the star attraction - a once in a life-time Supercar experience with Simon Cowell.
On the night, mum Amanda Harrison shared her family’s journey and how life changed when the family heard the heart breaking news that their son James had Infantile Batten Disease – a life-shortening condition that has no cure. James needs specialist round the clock care, seven days a week.
Speaking at the Midsummer Ball, mum Amanda Harrison said:
“When our son James was nearly two we heard the devastating news that he had an incurable life-shortening condition. To say that we were heartbroken, shocked and crushed doesn’t come close. It’s not a path we ever expected to go down, but we do everything we can to make every moment we have together count.
We are not alone, there are nearly 50,000 children with conditions like James’. And tomorrow, another family will be waking up to the heart-breaking news that their little one will have a short life. Sadly, like many families, they simply will not know which way to turn, and live with uncertainty. I hope my family’s story will shine a light on what it’s like for thousands of families. As a lasting legacy for James we would love to know that other parents will have all the support and care they need so they can make the most of life – no matter how short it is.”
The Midsummer Ball guests saw the première of Together for Short Lives compelling new animation called Through My Eyes about the reality of caring for a child with a complex and unpredictable life-shortening condition and how this changes family life. It tells the story of why families need round the clock care and support so they can make the most of every moment together. Through My Eyes has been designed and developed especially for the Midsummer Ball by the creative animation studio The Like Minded, at no cost to the charity.
Nick Peperell, Joint CEO of The Like Minded said:
“The Like Minded animation studio approached Together for Short Lives to see if we could create an impactful story to support their work. The studio has loved building a thoughtful character animation that shares a day in the life of a family with a child who has a life- shortening condition. Working on such an important project has been valuable for us as a team and highly rewarding. We believe that the film shows how character animation, often thought of as playful, can be thoughtful and hard hitting, evoking a strong emotional response. We hope that this piece of work can go some way to encouraging people to support this very important charity by giving what they can to a very worthy cause now.”