05:22PM, Monday 16 May 2022
Alexander Devine CEO Fiona Devine with Darth Vader and his storm troopers
A total of £40,000 was raised as a Maidenhead children's hospice charity hosted its annual black-tie Heaven Sent Ball fundraiser on Friday.
Alexander Devine Children's Hospice Service, based in Snowball Hill, Maidenhead, hosted its flagship event last week at The Castle Hotel in Windsor.
More than 150 people attended the evening of entertainment and fine dining, which also coincided with the charity's 15th birthday year in 2022.
Veteran broadcaster, journalist and author Sir Michael Parkinson, who is Alexander Devine’s founder patron, surprised CEO Fiona Devine and guests at the beginning of the evening with a special appearance.
He was welcomed with a standing ovation from guests and shared some of his personal highlights of supporting Fiona and the charity over the past 15 years.
An auction was led by charity ambassador Neil Shuttleworth and celebrity auctioneers Jonty Hearndon and Thomas Forrester.
And giving Sir Michael a hand to get the party started, Darth Vader and his storm troopers from Joker Squad were out in force to greet guests and get them in the mood for a party.
After a welcome drink, Windsor Rock Choir entertained guests with a medley of songs, whilst award winning magicians, Dean Leavy and Chris McGeever, added a touch of magic to the evening.
The Windsor Rock Choir perform
After a three course dinner, there was also live music from local singer Jennifer Jamieson.
Guests competed to win sought after auction prizes including a luxury getaway at Cliveden House, a masterclass for six with award-winning chocolatier Mark Tilling, a private dining experience for ten people at the Castle Hotel.
The event was sponsored by accounting firm, Blue Peak, and supported by a number of other firms including Penguins Events Agency and Blooming Fabulous Flowers.
Fiona Devine was delighted that the annual black-tie event raised so much for the charity, with £40,000 clocked up to support its vital work.
She said: "What an absolutely fabulous night and it was so amazing that so many people came out to support us and helped us to raise such a phenomenal amount of money.
"I am so deeply touched that Sir Michael popped in to surprise us. His support has meant so much to me and the charity over the last 15 years, he really is such an amazing man and we are so proud to have him as our founder patron.
"Our Heaven Sent Ball really is the highlight of the year for us and with this year being our 15th birthday, there was even more reasons to celebrate."
Auctioneer Neil Shuttleworth and Debbie McGee
Jeremy Spooner, CEO of Baylis Media, publishers of the Advertiser and the Express, was present at the event.
He said: "It was a real pleasure to attend the Heaven Sent Ball in support of the Alexander Devine Hospice Service as they celebrated their 15th birthday.
"As Sir Michael Parkinson said, what has been achieved by Fiona and her team to date is miraculous and I share his confidence that Fiona and her team, with the support of the community, will continue to make a huge difference to those they come into contact with though the provision of the hospice services."
More than 50 street parties are set to take place this weekend across the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and the surrounding areas.
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