Snowflakes were swirling outside the Alternatives New Year’s Ball late on Saturday night, but the guests were oblivious to the wintry conditions. Well-fed by Rutland Gourmet’s sumptuous dinner, and entertained by Paul Dobie’s floor-filling repertoire, they were busy chatting and dancing till after 1am.
But the best news of the night was that £4500 was raised for Alternatives, from profit on ticket sales, wine sales, donations and a charity auction.
Over 150 guests braved the sub-zero temperatures and were greeted by a string of fairy lights leading to the glittering – and impressively well-heated – marquee at Grange Farm Wittering. The dress code was black tie, and there were some stunning outfits on display as the early arrivals sipped Prosecco and feasted on canapés. Layers of scarves, coats, gloves and jackets were gradually shed as the evening warmed up.
Paul Dobie kept up a continuous one-man musical show throughout dinner, armed only with a selection of electric guitars and his own remarkable voice. Rutland Gourmet smoothly delivered salmon pate with horseradish or goats cheese tart, followed by meltingly tender beef pie or vegetarian risotto, topped off with plum fool and shortbread plus a tasty and generous cheese selection.
After a short welcome by Alternatives chair of trustees Helen Walton, Katy Fitt chaired a lively charity auction, with lots including a week’s holiday in Norfolk donated by Peter & Isobel Copley, two luxury watches donated by Dawsons, a vast bottle of champagne, a Battle of Britain Memorial Flight print and a round of golf. The auction raised £1800 for Alternatives. Plus many guests made additional generous donations on the night.
Formalities complete, Paul Dobie moved into floor-filling mode with an eclectic mix of hits from several decades, featuring Beatles, Queen, Bee Gees, Roy Orbison, Black Eyed Peas, Soft Cell & Proclaimers among others. Soon after 1am the tireless partygoers had to be dragged off the dance floor and bundle themselves up to venture out into the snow.
Huge thanks to Jackie Wurr and Des Rogers of JD Events for organising such a classy and lively event – and a special thank you to all the guests who organised tables, bought wine, bid in the auction and made donations. The Ball is Alternatives’ biggest fund-raising event of the year and it was a truly memorable night.
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If you couldn’t make it but still want to make a donation, get in touch or find out more about how you can help us here.