On Friday 3 March, our Patron Simon Cowell welcomed over 350 guests to Together for Short Lives annual ball to raise money for the 99,000 seriously ill children and their families across the UK. With support from headline sponsor Morrisons and media partner OK!, we were delighted that the Ball raised an incredible £371,365!
Speaking at the event, Simon Cowell, our Patron and host for the night said: “I am so proud to be a Patron of this fantastic charity. In my 14 years with Together for Short Lives, I have seen first-hand the difference they make to seriously ill children and their families across the country. It is a privilege to host yet another incredible ball, raising vital funds to make sure no family struggles alone and that not a single moment is wasted for families whose time together is unfairly, heartbreakingly short.”
Guests were transported into a spring wonderland for the evening, which took place at The Brewery in London. Adorned with maypole flags, fresh flowers, fruit and vegetables, guests took part in traditional fair games on Morrisons’ Market Street and gave their support for children affected by life-limiting conditions through both a silent and live auction and a pledge. The decorative produce for the event, generously donated by Morrisons, was given to a foodbank after the event.
Alongside Simon and his partner Lauren Silverman, other special guests included the night’s compère Alex Beresford, Bruno Tonioli, Christine McGuinness, Kai Widdrington and Nadiya Bychkova, and James and Ola Jordan. Simon’s fellow Patrons, Holly Willoughby and Mason Mount were there in spirit, having donated prizes to the games and auction.
After dinner, guests were treated to a headline performance from chart-topper Peter Andre who has been a Patron of Together for Short Lives since 2019.
The real star of the night was sixteen-year-old Lucy who gave a heart-warming speech about her life as a young carer and received a standing ovation. Lucy cares for her older sister Ellen, who has Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 2, and needs support throughout the day and night.
“I’ve been caring for my sister pretty much since I was born so it was never a big shock. It was more noticing that my friends’ lives were different to my own. I began to see that my childhood wasn’t as carefree. Being a young carer has affected me, but I can’t imagine not having Ellen around. She’s the best sister anyone could ask for.”
Lucy is one of thousands of young people across the country who have had to grow up quickly and have huge responsibilities placed on their shoulders.
The money raised from the event will help us start to scope out the UK’s first organised programme of support for young people affected by life-limiting and life-threatening conditions.
David Potts, CEO of Morrisons said: “We were delighted to be the headline sponsor of this special event, helping to raise vital funds for our charity partner Together for Short Lives, who make a real difference to the families they support.”
Andy Fletcher, Chief Executive of Together for Short Lives said: “We are hugely grateful to everyone who so generously donated their time, money and services to raise such a life-changing amount tonight, including our headline sponsors Morrisons, partner OK! and of course our wonderful Patron Simon Cowell.
“When a family hears the news that their child has a life-limiting condition, their whole world is turned upside down. They suddenly have to navigate a maze of medical and social services, and many parents have to give up their job to care for their child, while siblings often have to step up as young carers.
“It is absolutely critical that we expand our services to make sure we’re doing all we can to give these young carers the support they so desperately need, and more importantly, deserve. The funds raised from the Ball will help us do just that.”