Charity ball raises thousands for Sue Ryder

(L-R) Emma Leiper Finlayson, Sue Ryder’s National Head of Community Fundraising; Kiren Sharma; Cllr Rachel Eden, Mayor of Reading; Amal Sharma, Senior Partner at Gravity Personnel; Kathy Sharma and Fern Haynes, Sue Ryder’s Head of Fundraising for Thames Valley

A glittering black tie ball hosted by Sue Ryder and supported by broadcast legend and local resident, Chris Tarrant, has raised thousands of pounds to help families needing vital bereavement support.

Over 200 people attended the sold-out Sue Ryder Thames Valley Summer Ball, sponsored by Gravity Personnel, at the Hilton Hotel in Reading on Saturday 2 July.

In a video message kickstarting the night’s exclusive charity auction Chris Tarrant addressed the assembled guests by sharing:

“I was born in Reading, and I know all about the great work that Sue Ryder do in the Thames Valley area and all over the UK. The very special auction pledges may well go to support your loved ones at the time when they need it most. Thank you, Sue Ryder, for everything you do.”

As well as the exciting auction, guests enjoyed an evening of glitz and glamour, hosted by local comedian Adger Brown, with a sparkling drinks reception sponsored by Laithwaites, gourmet three course meal and live music and dancing from the Vodka Martinis.

The Mayor of Reading, Cllr Rachel Eden, who selected Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice as one of her mayoral charities, awarded raffle prizes to lucky winners on the night too.

Following such generous support on the night, Sue Ryder is delighted to announce the event has raised an incredible £40,000, which will go towards funding Sue Ryder’s bereavement services in Berkshire and South Oxfordshire.

Local supporter Sue Webb delivered an emotional speech on the night about the vital support she received from Sue Ryder when her husband, John, who had dementia, was receiving palliative care.

She said:

“I never realised dementia was going to be as bad as it was. I thought I could handle a bit of forgetfulness but without Sue Ryder I just don’t know what I would have done, I really don’t. It was their kindness but also the change in John while they were here and when they had been here. He would smile and it made him happy to see them.

“The most glorious thing that happened was that Sue Ryder sent a counsellor, Ken, to speak to John and he was just an angel. I still can’t believe that these angels are just going round taking care of people. They made so much difference to me and to my family as I’m sure they have to many of you. And we’re here tonight to make sure Sue Ryder can continue to be there when it matters for many years to come.”

Amal Sharma, Senior Partner from Headline Sponsor Gravity Personnel said: 

“I would like to personally thank everyone who supported the Sue Ryder Thames Valley Summer Ball. It was a fantastic night. Thanks to everyone’s hard work and generosity we managed to raise £40,000. This will truly have a massive impact in ensuring that the local community can have access to Sue Ryder’s palliative and bereavement services which are vital in supporting families grieving from the loss of a loved one. Thank you all so much.”

Sue Ryder’s Head of Fundraising for Thames Valley, Fern Haynes, said:

“Our Summer Ball was a fabulous evening from start to finish and we’d like to say a special thank you to Chris Tarrant for his message of support, our Headline Sponsor Gravity Personnel, our Creative Sponsor A.B.Walker and to all of the businesses and individuals who came along and made it such a huge success.

“Every penny raised from the event will go towards helping local people get the vital bereavement support they need at what has and continues to be a really challenging time. The support from the local community for this event has been inspiring and I am truly grateful to everyone who has contributed. I would like to say a special thank you to our Sue Ryder Community Ambassador, Sue Roberts, who went above and beyond to make the event possible.”

For more information about Sue Ryder, visit:

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