Last night we celebrated 10 years of Spread a Smile at our special 10th Anniversary Gala Dinner at the beautiful Nobu Hotel London Portman Square. And what an amazing evening it was with an incredible £505,000 raised for our work spreading smiles to seriously ill children and young people.
We were joined by nearly 400 supporters, friends, families, and colleagues from across our hospital partners for an incredible evening of good food, entertainment, magic and of course laughter.
Our host, comedian Suzi Ruffell, expertly guided us through the proceedings, sharing her own personal journey as to how she became a Spread a Smile Ambassador after a friend’s child was in hospital and saw what a positive difference our entertainers made.
We also heard from our Co-Founders and Trustees, Josephine Segal and Vanessa Crocker who set up the charity after seeing the positive impact a magician’s visit had on Josephine’s young nephew, Aaron, during his treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH). A very special moment followed when Josephine welcomed Aaron himself to the stage to share his story with us.
As always, our talented entertainers were on hand to spread smiles during dinner, wowing guests with magic, poetry and musical performances. We were treated to very special performance from Spread a Smile Ambassador, magician, and winner of Britain’s Got Talent, Richard Jones, who kept everyone on the edge of their seats with his magical skills.
Spread a Smile CEO, Lucy Jackson and Chair of Trustees, Paul Godfrey both spoke about the impact of our work and how our guests and supporters have played an important role enabling the charity to grow over the last 10 years and will continue to do so as we embark on plans to achieve even more in the future.
Our work is vital to the children, young people and families we support and also the medical staff across our hospital and hospice partners. Eleanor Tyrell, Matron, Children’s and Young People’s Cancer Service at University College Hospital spoke to guests about her first-hand experience of Spread a Smile and the difference we make to staff and patients alike.
We were also honoured to welcome the family of Chloe Balloqui to share their journey with us. We met Chloe, Mum Karen, Dad Richard, and brother James in 2013, not long after Chloe’s diagnosis of stage 4 neuroblastoma, an aggressive form of cancer. Last night Karen, Richard and James all spoke about the hugely positive impact Spread a Smile had on their lives during this dreadful time. We are so grateful to this brave, kind and inspirational family for sharing their personal life and experiences with us. You can find out more about Chloe’s journey and watch her special film here.
Guests had the opportunity to commit their support to Spread a Smile by pledging on the night and we are delighted to announce that an incredible £505,000 was raised for our work spreading smiles to seriously ill children, young people and their families across the UK.
A huge thank you to everyone for joining is last night, for their kindness and commitment and for helping us to celebrate our 10th birthday in style. You can take a look at photos from the event here.
Make sure you keep an eye out for photos of the amazing LEGO® table centrepieces; each one made by one of the families we support using sets donated by our friends at the LEGO Group. (You can read more about this amazing initiative here).
Thanks to the Nobu Hotel London Portman Square and our headline sponsor, Spring Finance Limited for their generous support and making this event possible.
Also, to Suzi Ruffell, Richard Jones, Aaron Maurice and everyone who helped make the event such a huge success. Here’s to the next 10 years!