The Helen Straker Charity held their first Autumn Charity Ball on Saturday 15th October at the Assembly Rooms in Bath. The proceeds from the Ball will be donated equally between two charities, The Forever Friends Appeal and Dorothy House Hospice Care. Both were the favourite charities of Helen Straker, late wife of Gordon Straker, who was an active fundraiser throughout her life and her 13 year battle with cancer.
Over 220 guests attended the Ball from local companies such as Wadworth & Co, Qdos Homes, MJ Church, Royds Withy King, Bath Rugby, Strakers Estate Agents and many others. The evening started with a champagne reception in the stunning Octagon Room of the Assembly Rooms followed by a three course dinner, an exciting auction and dancing to a Bath-based band called The Swingers.
The auction was the highlight of the evening and was hosted by Andrew Fleming, a Trustee of the Helen Straker Charity. The auction lots were incredibly generous and featured a weekend charter for ten people on a luxury yacht in Mallorca, a two night stay in Copenhagen, a helicopter flight and stay at Calcot Manor Hotel and a lavish lunch on a 1920’s Belmond British Pullman train. Other lots that got everyone bidding were golf days, rugby and football tickets, a shooting party for six and a cricket bat signed by the 2015 England test team who played in the Ashes against Australia.
Helen Straker was a determined fundraiser for both ourselves for the new Cancer Centre to be built at Bath RUH and Dorothy House. After Helen lost her brave fight against cancer in 2013, her husband Gordon Straker continued her impressive fundraising efforts and The Helen Straker Charity was officially registered in 2014.
The charity now organise a variety of fundraising events each year including golf days, clay pigeon shoots, dinners and comedy nights and the total funds raised now stands at £186,000 since 2014.
Gordon Straker, Trustee of the Helen Straker Charity said of Saturday’s Ball: “It was a wonderful evening of great food, great music and delightful company. Helen would wholeheartedly approve of our ongoing efforts to raise money for her chosen charities to help others in the future and we are very proud to do so. Thank you to all the sponsors who supported the Ball and to everyone who helped make it such an exceptional evening, particularly the charity’s board of Trustees.”
Jan Witt, In Memory & Legacy Officer, The Forever Friends Appeal said: “What a glittering night was had by all at Saturday’s Ball, once again the Trustees pulled out all the stops to make the evening a magnificent and memorable occasion. The Forever Friends Appeal is truly grateful to everyone who gives their time and support to make each of their fundraising events a huge success, year after year. Helen was a keen supporter of the Appeal and we are absolutely honoured that Gordon, his family, friends and the Trustees have continued with Helen’s fundraising legacy and supported us over many years.”
Phillippa Watson, Head of Fundraising at Dorothy House Hospice Care said: “The Charity Ball at the Assembly Rooms was a terrific success and a real tribute to all the hard work and fundraising efforts of Gordon Straker and the charity Trustees. Dorothy House cared for Helen during her illness since 2002 and we are honoured to be one of the chosen charities of the Helen Straker Charity, especially during our 40th birthday year.”
The proceeds of the Ball will be announced in December along with all the funds raised in 2016 and will be split equally between Dorothy House Hospice Care and The Forever Friends Appeal.