Bury St Edmunds charity ball is a record-breaker

Greene King Charity Ball at St Edmundsbury Cathedral
Greene King Charity Ball at St Edmundsbury Cathedral
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Friday’s sixth annual Greene King Charity Ball raised a record-breaking sum of money for drug and alcohol rehabilitation charity Focus12.

Though the exact total is still not known, organisers say the event - held for the first time in St Edmundsbury Cathedral - will have earned the charity more than £20,000, making it the most successful one yet.

Des Smith, Aspall MD; Chris Houlton, Greene King MD; Andy Yacoub, CEO of Focus12, and the Rev Canon Matthew Vernon, of St Edmundsbury Cathedral

Des Smith, Aspall MD; Chris Houlton, Greene King MD; Andy Yacoub, CEO of Focus12, and the Rev Canon Matthew Vernon, of St Edmundsbury Cathedral

The exclusive black tie event welcomed more than 200 guests, with a champagne and canapé reception, ‘fabulous’ three-course meal, charity auction and live entertainment by musician Paolo Morena and mentalist and illusionist Doug Segal.

Andy Yacoub, chief executive of Focus12, said the ball’s unusual setting - the cathedral having hosted just one other external event previously - helped create ‘a real buzz’ and an ‘atmosphere of high expectation’ which added to people’s enjoyment on the night.

“It was definitely the most spectacular one we’ve ever held, without a doubt,” he said. “And the food was fabulous.”

The Rev Canon Matthew Vernon, sub-dean of St Edmundsbury Cathedral, agreed it looked ‘stunning’.

“We were very happy to have the ball at the cathedral because we were keen, and felt privileged, to support the wonderful work Focus12 does with people in the community,” he said, adding that it had been so well received he would anticipate the cathedral being used more as a venue in the future.

An online auction ran alongside the ball for the first time this year, with lots like the jumpsuit Davina McCall wore in the Channel 4 series The Jump and tickets to see the Kaiser Chiefs at Newmarket helping to boost funds.

Plans to make both ‘even bigger’ next time are already underway but tickets to the charity’s next big fund-raiser - Life and Soul in London on June 24 - are now on sale.

Go to www.focus12.co.uk to find out more.