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The RST Ball – from an organiser’s perspective

This month, our blog is focusing on the extremely popular and successful annual event that is the RST Ball. It took place in November last year and it was the first time I (Suzanne) attended. Our blog below is written by Sharon Hart, who is a huge part of the Trust, and has an integral role in the smooth organisation of all of the events throughout the year. As you will read from her post, there is a lot of planning and pre-event nerves that take place. From my perspective, I just turned up, got glammed up and had an absolutely fantastic night out. Everything ran so seamlessly and it’s only because of the efforts of people like Sharon that this is the case. I cannot wait for the 2016 Ball already, and for anyone that hasn’t attended yet, I highly recommend it as a fun night of laughter, boozing and dancing! But make sure you get your tickets early because it is always a sell out. 12th November 2016 – see you on the dance floor!!

Enough from me…. over to Sharon…

Organising an RST event is always fun (and occasionally stressful), but the annual RST Gala Dinner is one of my favourites.

We plan and think about this flagship event all year; it’s imperative to us that it’s value for money and a great night out for our supporters, whilst giving us the opportunity to raise lots of money.

Leading up to the big day I’m anxious as to how things are going to go, especially as we’ve changed venue to accommodate more guests.  It’s grown in numbers since the first dinner in 2012 and tickets for 2015 have sold out!  #pressurepic1

Arriving at the lovely Luton Hoo on the morning of the big day there’s lots to do, but teamRST are on the case.  The hotel staff are organising the tables for dinner, there’s the drinks reception to oversee, the stage for the band to organise, the stage backdrop, the raffle table, the auction display, the saxophonist, the barbershop quartet etc etc – everyone gets cracking.

During the afternoon our friend and host for the evening Jim White arrives and I start to think how fast the time is going – guests will be arriving soon!   A quick dash to glam up, and it’s action stations. #nervous

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People start to arrive and wow, they’ve done us proud with their evening attire – everyone looks fabulous, I love it.

The reception fills with chat and soon we take our seats for dinner. #hope the meal is good.

Conversation flows, food is eaten, drinks consumed and our lovely comedian Ian never disappoints.  Everyone is laughing and having fun and there’s a great atmosphere.

The raffle goes well (we are always careful of having quality over quantity and grateful for some great prizes from our friends at Fortnum and Mason) and the “Heads & Tails” game creates a buzz …. who’s going to win the beautiful case of vintage wine.

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Then it’s auction time; how will this go?  Will it be awkward?  #nervous again

The auction is a huge success, generous bids and banter fly about and we raise an outstanding amount – supported by a totally amazing individual donation from one particular friend of RST.

Peoples’ kindness and generosity never ceases to amaze me and I get quite emotional about it at times to be honest.  RST is doing wonderful things for people with SCI and as I’ve been involved since the Trust was just an idea in my little brother’s head … evenings like this make me feel very proud of what we’ve achieved.

By the time the band start, I’m starting to relax …….

It’s wonderful to see a packed dance floor, with people singing at the top of their voices and genuinely having a good time. Nobody wants it to end.

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This is the part of the evening I really enjoy.  It makes me happy to see people having fun at our event; we try to make it a special occasion and I think we’ve pulled it off!

Our work tonight is done ………. time for a large glass of wine for me and roll on tomorrow when #TeamRST can relax and reflect on the evening, our wonderful supporters and the record amount of money we’ve raised to help people with SCI.

#fantastic!

#proud

Here’s to next year…. the planning has already begun!

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