Sir Bobby’s Breakthough Ball in Bury St Edmunds raises more than £50k for cancer services

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English television cook Delia Smith and American actor Sean Brosnan were among celebrities to attend a charity ball in Bury St Edmunds last night.

Organisers of The Apex fund-raiser say it raised ‘well over’ £50,000, but the final figure will not be known until later today.

“People are simply incredible,” said founder Gina Long, adding how impressed she was that guests were able to put aside their differences - be it competitiveness over football or business - to help tackle ‘The Big C’.

She added: “Everybody wanted to do their bit and they certainly did last night. There was so much warmth in the room and everybody arrived ready to have a good time. The venue looked beautiful, the food was amazing, we had a young girl called Anna Straker sing live for the first time and Tenors Un Limited played for what must have been 40 minutes, where everyone was up on their feet.”

Proceeds from Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Ball will go towards improving cancer care and funding essential research.

Attention has now turned to the campaign’s other fund-raiser, an online auction which will close at 7pm on Sunday.

With 330 lots, a new item due to be listed by 3pm today and 2,000 unique visitors to the website each day, things are ‘really hotting up’.

“It’s very exciting to watch it unfold and it’s going to unfold in front of all our eyes,” said Mrs Long.

The campaign - inspired by football legend Sir Bobby Robson - set the ambitious target, this year, of raising £1 million for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, Breakthrough Breast Cancer and West Suffolk and Ipswich Hospitals.

“Whatever we make is a pound more than any of the charities had yesterday,” said Mrs Long, confident that this year’s tally will be higher than the impressive £248,000 the campaign raised in 2011.

“There are 330 lots and, unlike the auction in 2011, they are literally 50 per cent lifestyle and 50 per cent sport, so this isn’t all about sport,” she added.

To browse the catalogue of auction items, which include football fan experiences, luxury escapes, golf getaways, distillery courses, sporting memorabilia and celebrity meet and greets, go to www.the-saleroom.com/sirbobbysbreakthroughauction