26,400 cheers for the Press Ball!

IPSWICH: It exceeded all expectation and resulted in a stunning amount of money raised for charity.

And today organisers of the hugely successful Press Ball are all set to start planning again for next year’s event.

The target figure of �15,000 was far exceeded – with a staggering �26,400 being raised on the night with more money still set to roll in.

The two main recipients of the evening, held in the sumptuous surroundings of Hintlesham Hall, will be Cystic Fibrosis Trust and the St Elizabeth Hospice, whose chief executive Jane Loughlin had cause for double celebration as she also wed her fiance Jason Petit on the Greek island of Zante the following day.

Mick Parker, managing director of event organisers Parker Communications, who masterminded Friday’s ball, said: “The whole evening and the money raised was beyond my wildest expectation, especially with the current state of the economy. It was a challenge but people rose to it to help us reach the total and were so, so, generous on the night.

“The venue was staggering and I was absolutely delighted with the whole event.”

And Evening Star editor Nigel Pickover added: “I am astounded and overwhelmed by the money raised on the night. It was such a brilliant evening and in the fabulous surroundings of our new location at Hintlesham Hall.”

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Compered by Paul Clement, executive director of Ipswich Central and a director of main sponsors Tiger.co.uk, the event, held in a specially decorated marquee, included a champagne reception and mouth-watering four-course meal, followed by entertainment by soul sensation Fil Straughan who was joined by glamorous vocalist Verna Francis.

It was followed by an auction which raised over �5,500.

Lots were sold for between �150 and �750 with the top items including a holiday cottage on the Scottish island of Jura, �750; 18 carat rose and white gold diamond ring, �650; Ipswich Town executive box, �650; seven day holiday in Spain, �500; and a Center Parcs family break, �500.

And the amazing generosity of Graeme Kalbraier, the entrepreneur behind Call Connection and Tiger.co.uk, doubled the amount to top the �11,000 mark.

He also donated �2,000 on the night following a challenge to the diners and guests and doubled the amount raised in a heads and tails game.

The event – this year called the ES 125 Ball in honour of The Evening Star’s 125th birthday – was the 14th of its kind and was attended by more than 200 people. It also featured 44 items in the prize draw which came from a variety of organisations and individuals with EDF Energy Networks and Hintlesham Hall Hotels co-sponsoring the ball.

n To see more exclusive pictures of the event log on to our website at www.eveningstar.co.uk for the online gallery.

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