Parents of premature boy in Bury St Edmunds organise charity ball to thank hospital that cared for him

Paul and Joanna Rayner with Jan Bloomfield from the hospital and a representative of the Motor Neurone Disease  Association at Blackthorpe Barn
Paul and Joanna Rayner with Jan Bloomfield from the hospital and a representative of the Motor Neurone Disease Association at Blackthorpe Barn
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Six Nations tickets to watch England take on France will be up for auction at a charity ball at Blackthorpe Barn in Rougham next Saturday (20).

The ball has been organised by Paul and Joanna Rayner whose son Thomas was looked after in the West Suffolk Hospital neonatal unit when he was born prematurely in 2010.

Half the money raised will go towards a new £60,000 bereavement room at the hospital for parents who have lost their babies. The other half will g o to the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA) after Paul’s uncle was diagnosed five years ago.

The ball will feature a cocktail reception, five course dinner, and auction.

Prizes include a barbecue cooked by the award winning Benson Blakes, and a cocktail masterclass with Tim Blake.

“We have been overwhelmed by the support we have received from the local community in terms of prizes, sponsorship and ticket sales,” said Paul, who lives on Moreton Hall in Bury St Edmunds.

“We wanted to organise something that would be a great night for guests and raise as much money as possible.

“We have some great auction items – including one surprise which we will be unveiling on the night – and some fun and games along the way.

“We have more than 160 people already coming, but there are still a few tickets available so get in quick for what should be a great evening.”

Dave Gooderham, fundraising manager at the hospital, said: “Paul and Joanna have worked tremendously hard on the charity ball and I know they are touched, as we are, by the level of support they have received from the community.

“We are so grateful to everyone involved with the event.

“It should be a tremendous occasion and I know the surprises in store will add to the enjoyment of everyone who attends. But I’m afraid I have been sworn to secrecy.”

Tickets cost £50. Visit www.blackthorpeball.co.uk