Dreamflight is a national charity that takes 192 seriously ill children on the holiday of a lifetime to Florida every October. It is made up of 12 groups from across the UK of 16 children. The group for the North East is called the Tigger Group and the Group that I am a member of which covers Yorkshire and Derbyshire is called the Dolphin Group.
OK, its not strictly speaking a fund raising event attended by the 99th in Star Wars costumes but me, Jim, Ian and Marie attended the annual Tigger Group Fundraising ball for Dreamflight at the Gosforth Marriott Hotel, Newcastle. We were also joined by Tim [from work] and his wife, Gail, and Nigel [Dolphin Dreamflight group Doctor], Katie from the Dolphin Group and Rob, Mike and Sharon.
The Ball had originally been marketed by Dreamflight Tigger Group as a Moulin Rouge themed event but apparently they received a "cease and desist" letter from the owners of Moulin Rouge. Bit ridiculous really when it was an event for a charity but there you go! So, it was then re-branded as a "can can" themed ball and me, Marie and Gail were dressed accordingly, although, there weren't many guests who were... but as members of the 99th at least me and Marie are used to being dressed differently to everyone else in the room!
We had driven up to Washington, Newcastle on Friday night and arrived there just after 10:00pm. We were staying at Marie's for the weekend as we had an event to go to on the Saturday [day time] at the Springwell Community Centre. See Marie's blog on this event at http://99thgarrison-north-east.blogspot.com/2011/06/springwell-carnival-springwell-village.html?spref=fb
We finished the event at about 3:00pm and then were back at Marie's for about 4:00ish. We then quickly got ready for the ball which was due to start at 6:30pm. We were late though and arrived just in time to be given a bucks fizz in the reception room before an announcement that guests should take their seats for dinner!
It was great to meet Gail properly for the first time, to get the chance to socialise with Ian and Marie instead of just trooping with them and to see my old Dreamflight friends. Katie sat next to me at the table and it was good to catch up with each other and and also to talk about an event that Katie is organising at the Arena Shopping Centre, Coventry on the 17th September, which she has asked the 99th to attend and help with fundraising for Dreamflight.
At the event we had been to during the day at The Springwell Community Centre we had been given a donation towards our charity, so we handed that over [£102] to James Hayden [Group Doctor for the Tigger Group] Safe to say that it was very gratefully received!
The meal went very quickly and the drinks flowed and then it was time for the auction at which point Tim/Tom sprung into action and bid for and won a signed Manchester United shirt... well done Tim! Gail also wanted to bid for a pair of VIP Take That tickets but they went for a very high price indeed!
After dinner, it was time for the DISCO and for the casino to start. To play at the Casino you had to buy US dollars. These were then exchanged for chips at the table. It turned out that our table had the best two gamblers at the event with Nigel and Tim coming first and second respectively in winning the most on the night!
After that we pretty much danced the night away until the early hours and then it was a taxi back to Marie's for us.
All in all, a very good night out and one that raised approximately £23,000 for Dreamflight on the night.
For more info on Dreamflight see www.dreamflight.org. I can particularly recommend the introductory 3 minute video for getting a realy flavour of what Dreamflight is all about and for pulling at the heart strings!