Rockinghorse raises 100 grand at The Grand

A huge �101,000 was raised at Rockinghorse's ball, Stephen Johnson Photograph
A huge �101,000 was raised at Rockinghorse's ball, Stephen Johnson Photograph

A six-figure sum was raised at the 2019 Rockinghorse Ball to benefit the county’s most poorly children.

More than £101,000 was raised at the masquerade gala dinner where guests wore stunning masks in aid of the children’s charity.

The ball took place at Brighton’s The Grand Hotel on October 12 where 350 guests filled The Empress Suite.

DMH Stallard was headline sponsor of the event alongside co-sponsors The Grand Brighton, Cardens Accountants, Gap Solutions, and Potter Raper.

Entertainment was provided by four-piece, female ensemble the Accordi String Quartet and the big band Down for The Count with BBC Sussex and Surrey’s MC Danny Pike hosting the event.

Live and silent auctions of must-have items contributed to the grand total.

During the evening, £13,000 was raised for Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital to contribute towards new Oxygen Saturation Monitors which are vital for monitoring children with respiratory conditions.

Speaking at the Ball, Ryan Heal, chief executive of Rockinghorse, said: “By supporting our numerous projects at the Alex, you are directly contributing to the improved care and services for our children. We refuse to stand by and see the Alex without the equipment it needs to give our children the best possible care, no matter what the financial or political backdrop engulfing the NHS.

“This wonderful children’s hospital continues to be recognised as a centre of excellence in the region. So many people here in the room tonight have directly experienced the work of the Alex and I say thank God for its existence.”

Special guests at the Ball, parents Kerry and John Leppard from Haywards Heath, understand how vital this equipment is only too well.

Kerry delivered a moving speech at the Ball about the support given to her family by Rockinghorse and the Alex.

Their daughter, Florence, was diagnosed with a rare liver tumour aged just two-years-old.

Florence underwent an epic journey which included seven cycles of chemotherapy and surgery to remove the tumour and two thirds of her liver.

In the aftermath, the family struggled to find support for Florence but were delighted to hear that Rockinghorse planned to fund a children’s psychologist within the Oncology service at the Alex.

Kerry said: “Florence is soon to be eight-years-old and is in year three at school. In the aftermath of her cancer, it was clear she needed psychological support. Dr Alice Emond, the Rockinghorse Clinical Psychologist, provides a safe place for Florence to be heard and she understood the emotional impact the illness has had on her.

“The response has been quite amazing, and we are so very grateful. This simply wouldn’t have happened without Rockinghorse and, thanks to their support, many more children and their families will be able to cope with the numerous pressures and strains that constantly surround such a painful diagnosis.”

More than 40 members of staff from the Alex attended the Rockinghorse Ball and received a standing ovation for the incredible work they do to improve the lives of poorly babies, children, and young people.

Rockinghorse is a Brighton-based charity that has been supporting sick and disadvantaged children, babies, and adolescents in Sussex for more than 50 years.

The charity was founded in 1967 by Dr Trevor Mann, who recognised there was a real need for additional resources to improve paediatric healthcare services in Sussex.

Rockinghorse does not receive any government funding and relies on the generous support of individuals, community groups, schools, companies and trusts.

To find out more about Rockinghorse, visit the charity’s website here.