On Saturday 6th April 2019, I had the honour of capturing a fantastic evening at Wigfair Hall, Denbighshire. A group of incredible individuals and caring friends had a vision of a glamorous ball where guests would dress in beautiful gowns and tuxedo's and partake in an event, to raise money for a cause so close to us all - Cancer. In particular, the 'North Wales Cancer Appeal'.
(All images are watermarked as they are only available for purchase via https://www.nrimagery.com/skyball - all proceeds will be donated to charity by NR Imagery).
One of these 'incredible individuals' in particular, was the reason behind the event. Only last year, Kate Jackson received the dreaded news that she was diagnosed with cancer herself. A loving wife and mother to three beautiful girls, Kate is a stunning and strong woman and has remained positive throughout. She took the opportunity to raise awareness of the cause and to thank the generous individuals and businesses that had collaborated to the James Bond themed evening - 'SkyBall'.
Kate gave a touching speech at the event about her battle and "how fortunate are we that we have the Cancer Centre at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd on our doorstep?" Kate mentioned that she has "received world class treatment: the most caring and talented staff, a warm and inviting place in which to receive treatment and state of the art equipment. The North Wales Cancer Appeal (NWCA) directly funds the Cancer Centre". From Kate's own experience, she mentioned that "the machine under which she received radiotherapy treatment was a purchase made by the charity."
The event was thought up by Kate and her strong unit of friends (above), who together collaborated with the owners and staff at Wigfair Hall, as well as the amazing 'Peak Marquee Hire', who I have the fortune of regularly working with on the Wedding circuit. Brett & Haf, of Peak Marquee, one of my many recommended suppliers (a list that can be viewed at here), built an enormous luxurious space to accommodate 240+ guests, who each purchased tickets for the event.
An endless supply of items were donated to a raffle - from framed photographs, hampers, bottles of alcohol, vouchers and much more. There was even a wheelbarrow. The last time I saw that, was about 11:45pm where a gent with his loosened bow tie, and open top button was pushing his wife around on the dancefloor. Everybody seemed to be enjoying themselves.
The coordinators had the unenviable task of blowing up 100's of balloons, which housed the many winning tickets. At £5 each these were a great addition to the charity.
My purpose at the event was to capture guests as they arrived for formal photographs of them looking great! The idea was for me to attend the event and contribute my time to effort for free. However, as an additional source of income toward the charity, I made the images available online to purchase, as digital 'e-prints', with all proceeds going to the North Wales Cancer Appeal - https://www.nrimagery.com/skyball
Whilst I continued to snap away, guests were ushered to the bar and also the several rooms which housed Casino tables, provided by the amazing 'Event Lounge'. Yet more generosity was provided by the many volunteers that functioned the bar for the evening. Guests enjoyed a delicious three course meal, courtesy of Mark Macauley. Before the food was served, chairperson of the charity, Katy Powell (below) explained the work that the NWCA do, giving more clarity, so that guests could be as generous as possible for the night ahead.
Once the food and wine were devoured, the fun could begin. Auctioneer Matthew Holmberg displayed his skills by leading the auction, where guests had the opportunity to bid on some incredible lots. And most importantly, a load of money was raised for this incredible cause.
The auction was a massive success. Thousands of pounds lighter, there were some extremely happy individuals who would be leaving the event with some incredible experiences to look forward to. I however was a little disheartened seeing the signed 'Eric Cantona' Manchester United shirt sold for a figure which completely shattered what I could afford to pay. However, the money went to the charity, so all is good!
Once the auction had finished, the band could start and the guests could dance the night away.
I even got involved in the photo's........
And finally - a group shot of the incredible people that made the event happen, representing Wigfair Hall, Peak Marquee Hire and Kate with her nearest and dearest friends.
What an achievement! This entire event has inspired me.
After the success of 'SkyBall' and the opportunity that it gave me to contribute my time, effort and money to such an incredible cause, I have made the decision to photograph a Charity Event once a year. Feel free to contact me to build awareness of your future charity event, so that I can consider my options for 2020 and beyond.
In addition to this, the aim for the business is to pursue my passion combining travel photography and documentary style photography, for a bi-annual trip to third world countries, to document the fine work that charities and conservation teams do on a regular basis. There are so many places in the world that I am still yet to visit, yet I feel I have been more fortunate to see so much. Therefore combining these aspects, I'd be 'giving something back'. Keep your eyes peeled!