Willow blog

Willow Ball 2016

November 20, 2016

Celebrating Special Days at Willow’s prestigious fundraising ball.

Willow’s 19th annual ball was held at the prestigious Lancaster Hotel in London in November.

Willow Ambassador, Dancing on Ice star and professional skater, Frankie Seaman was the perfect host and the evening got off to a swinging start with a dazzling performance from Jon Lee and his tribute to Frankie Valli and the Jersey Boys and a vintage jazz performance from That Swing Thing!

As ever, guests gave extremely generously on the night, swayed by the good-humoured banter from former rugby union player turned auctioneer, Martin Bayfield, raising more than £300,000 towards Special Days.

This year the stage and ceilings were adorned with 1,250 Japanese paper cranes, representing every Special Day created in 2016. The paper crane symbolizes hope during challenging times just as a Special Day does. Having a Special Day in the diary marks an escape, time with loved ones, a chance to live and laugh again. With an aim to double our impact we hope that by 2019, we will be granting 2,000 Special Days each year.

Willow Champion, Jackie Scully, said a few words about what her Special Day, a trip on the Orient Express, meant to her: “Willow changes lives, not just days. When you’re faced with a serious illness, you have no option but to fight. This amazing charity recognises that while surgery, drugs and hospitals are an important part of that fight, so too, is the chance to laugh, love and be reminded of what it is you’re fighting for,”  before introducing the new Willow film (view here).  

During the evening Willow gave a special thanks to long term supporter and sponsor, Duncan Sinclair, who has not only supported the Willow Ball for ten years but has generously invested £2 million and pledged to support the Willow Ball for an additional ten years. This will allow Willow to provide a little normality, moments of joy, as well as hope and strength, to seriously ill young adults when it’s needed most.

The generous support on the evening will enable us to make a real and positive difference to the lives of our beneficiaries and their families.

As ever, we are so very grateful to our amazing team of volunteers who work tirelessly to make the evening such a success.

If you would like to book a table for Willow Ball 2017, please contact email [email protected] or telephone  01707 259 777. 

Photos from the evening can be viewed here