Butterfly Ball helps raise funds for dementia care

Butterfly Ball organisers Francesca Maria Chiappe Hall (left) and Shelley Cooper

A charity evening successfully fluttered by as hundreds of people attended a Butterfly Ball in aid of Blue Skies Hospitals Fund.

The ball, which was inspired by the Butterfly Scheme – a national initiative to identify patients living with dementia in a sensitive and discreet way – was held at the Hilton Hotel, Blackpool, on Friday, October 21 and raised a magnificent £6,750. The amount is expected to increase as people purchase photographs from the evening.

It was organised by Francesca Maria Chiappe Hall, a Dementia Champion at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and Shelley Cooper who also works for the Trust.

The proceeds from the event will go towards Blue Skies’ Peace of Mind appeal which aims to enhance the care patients living with dementia receive across the Trust.

Guest of honour was the Butterfly Scheme’s founder, Barbara Hodkinson, who said: “What a fabulous evening of celebrating dementia care excellence we had.

“It was superbly organised by Francesca and Shelley and ably supported by the wonderful ‘Team Butterfly’ – but my overwhelming impression came from the constant stream of people coming up to talk about their passion for dementia care. Imagine that – at a ball! It was just brilliant.”

Special guests on the night were Anne Nolan and Bobby Ball, who helped draw the raffle and entertained guests.  Entertainment was provided by local band Touch The Pearl, and DJ and Compere Paul O’Brien who donated his time free of charge.

Francesca and Shelley said: “We were absolutely overwhelmed with the support we had for this event, especially as this was the first time we’d ever tried something like this.

“We’re still on cloud nine – we’re so pleased with how the event went and how much we’ve raised for this very important charity. But it wasn’t just about raising money; it was also about raising awareness of dementia and promoting the Butterfly scheme which enhances care for patients with dementia whilst in hospital as well as promoting our hospital charity.

“We had more than 300 guests on the night, all of whom donated generously by taking part in the raffle and charity bingo. We were also very grateful for sponsorship for the event which came in from medical suppliers Urgo, Medline, Turun UK, Ramblegard, and from Beaverbrooks the Jewellers’ Blackpool Branch.

Rebecca Ferguson and her husband John raising money for the Trust’s Blue Skies Hospitals Fund

“We must also say a huge thank you to SF Taylor who printed our posters and tickets, to local photographer, Steve Drummond, who donated his time for the event and also to our Trust Communications Officer Ingrid Kent and her husband Mark who also took photos for the event free of charge. Dave Hughes kindly filmed the night free of charge too.

A very special thank you to Clare from Once Upon a Time Events Blackpool for kindly donating the beautiful chair covers which made the room look stunning. She even came the night before to cover every chair for us.”

Francesca and Shelley also made special mention to My Stage Company who provided Butterfly show girls for the event to welcome guests free of charge, Jill Clayton from Balloon Designs of Lytham, the NHS Choir and West Coast Lighting and all the local businesses and organisations who donated an array of raffle prizes.

They said: “We’ve had some really great feedback from the night, and to have raised so much certainly makes all the months of planning and hard work worth it. Thank you to everyone who has helped make such a difference in local dementia care.”

Francesca and Shelley designed special Blue Skies cocktails for the evening which were provided to welcome guests into the venue, and said they were especially pleased with the way their ‘ReMEmber the ME in DeMEntia’ puddings went down.

They added: “The Hilton did a superb job of making everything perfect for us on the night, and they’ve even donated 10 per cent of the bar sales to Blue Skies.”

Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Chief Executive (Interim), Wendy Swift, said: “Thank you to Francesca and Shelley for their hard work in putting on such a fabulous evening and to everyone involved for their contributions and kind donations towards Blue Skies’ Peace of Mind Appeal.”

Photographs from the event can viewed on the Blue Skies Facebook page – search Blue Skies Hospitals Fund. Copies can be purchased from the Blue Skies Office for £3.50. All proceeds will go towards the Peace of Mind Appeal.

For further information about this Press Release, please call Rebecca Ferguson, Deputy Head of Fundraising, on 01253 957903 or email rebecca.ferguson@bfwh.nhs.uk.

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