Frocks at the ready for charity ball!

·  NSPCC fundraiser Lesley Loughridge will be hosting a jazz ball in September

·  The event will jointly benefit the children’s charity and the Motor Neurone Disease Association

A dedicated fundraiser is preparing to stage a glittering ball in aid of two charities that are close to her heart.

Lesley Loughridge, a long-time supporter of the NSPCC will host the event at the Mere Golf and Country Club on the 8th September.

Proceeds from the event will be donated to the children’s charity and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

 

Lesley said: “I have been involved with the NSPCC for 25 years and have been part of the Lymm committee in Cheshire. I became chair and had quite a few years of organising a lot of balls in the 1990’s and raised around £15,000 per event. Once the recession hit we stopped doing a lot of the things we had done. But my husband was a great support when I was organising the balls, he was at the last one just a few weeks before he died.”

 

Lesley’s husband Mark passed away in 2005 from motor neurone disease at the age of 41, just six weeks after the last ball she hosted.

She added: “I had quite a long break and it sort of hit me when I was driving along one day that I wanted to do another one.”

 

This year’s event will be an extravaganza of great food and fantastic entertainment featuring Ian Shaw, an award winning vocalist who has collaborated with big names including Jools Holland, and Sasha Sings.

 

As well as a glass of fizz and a four course meal, there will also be a DJ, raffle and a live auction on the night.

Lesley said she is looking forward to being able to share the event with her children.

She added: “My children used to come and help us set up tables, but then had to go home to be babysat for the actual event, but now they’re all in their twenties they can enjoy the party as well.”

 

Janette Drew, NSPCC fundraising manager for Cheshire said: “Lesley’s dedication to the NSPCC is absolutely phenomenal. I feel very humbled that she has chosen to share this event with us and the Motor Neurone Disease Association. I wish her all the very best with the ball.”

 

Tickets for the Autumn Jazz Ball are priced at £70 and are available from Lesley by email to lesley909@gmail.com or calling 07803 616961.

Events guru gears up for glittering charity ball in memory of inspirational husband

An events guru is gearing up for her next glittering charity ball – inspired by the support her family received when her husband was diagnosed with an incurable illness at the age of just 39.

 

Lesley Loughridge, founder and owner of Cheshire firm Elle Events, has organised a night of fine food and fantastic entertainment featuring BBC Jazz Vocalist of the Year award-winner Ian Shaw – who has collaborated with the likes of Quincy Jones and Jools Holland and is a regular at Ronnie Scott’s jazz club in London

The event at The Mere Golf and Country Club on September 8th is being held in aid of the Motor Neurone Disease Association and the NSPCC.

It follows a series of nine charity balls organised by Lesley in the 1990s and early noughties which raised an incredible £135,000 for the NSPCC.

Sadly just six weeks after the last ball she hosted in May 2005, her husband Mark died from motor neurone disease, aged only 41. The dad-of-three had been diagnosed with the progressive neurological condition two years earlier, when his children were just five, eight and 10.

Lesley, who lives in Stockton Heath, said: “Mark was there that night and had a great time. He had supported me for years with these fundraising events and, looking back now especially, I am so pleased he was able to be there.

“There has obviously been quite a long break between that and the event I am organising this September, but suddenly last autumn I had a moment and thought ‘now is the time to do another’ and the MND Association was my first thought.

“I have always supported the NSPCC and am chair of the local branch of the charity’s volunteer fundraising committee, but this time I also wanted to do something for the MNDA who were so helpful when Mark was ill. This is my contribution to say thank you for the wonderful support they provided.”

The first sign that something was wrong came back in 2003 when Mark’s speech began to slur. He was referred to a neurologist and a diagnosis of MND was later confirmed.

The condition – which affects the neurones which send messages from the brain to the muscles, causing them to waste away – robbed him of his voice and, in the later stages, his mobility.

From the early days of the frightening diagnosis, Lesley said the MND Association Cheshire branch had provided invaluable support.

“When Mark was diagnosed with MND I didn’t even know what it was – you’re trying to take it all in but all you can focus on is that there’s only one outcome. I think that’s what’s especially hard with MND.

“Those first few months were a blur. We had three small children so telling them what was going on and dealing with their questions as their dad deteriorated was especially hard.

“The lady who used to visit us from the MNDA was so help and supportive. She got Mark a palm pilot device – which helped him to communicate – and helped us with various forms and entitlements. We were trying to hold things together and keep life as normal as possible and she helped us to do that – she was very reassuring and very soothing. We always felt better when she’d been round.”

Now Lesley hopes this September’s ball will raise vital funds to support two worthy charities which make such a difference to people’s lives.

The event will also welcome Sash Sings, a vocalist and song-writer who will be performing a series of dance-floor fillers. They’ll also be a DJ, raffle and live auction with a host of top prizes, as well as a drinks reception and four-course meal.

Lesley said: “Throughout Mark’s illness he remained so positive and pragmatic - that’s the person he was. He was really was an inspiration.

“The way he dealt with it has helped me in the years since he died, knowing he would want me to remain positive and keep going. I think he’d be pleased I am organising another ball and proud that we’re supporting the important work of these charities.”

Tickets for the Autumn Jazz Ball cost £70 each and are available from Lesley by email to lesley909@gmail.com or by calling 07803 616961. Further details and booking is also available at www.elle-events.co.uk, where you can find information about sponsorship packages.

 

ENDS 

Picture captions:

Lesley Loughridge is organising a charity ball in aid of the MND Association and the NSPCC

Lesley Loughridge and husband Mark on their wedding day in 1992

The Loughridge family in 2001, a year before Mark was diagnosed with MND

Editor's notes:

The Motor Neurone Disease Association Cheshire Branch is the local arm of the MND Association - the national charity which supports people living with the condition and their families, whilst also funding research.

About motor neurone disease (MND) and the MND Association:

●          MND is a fatal, rapidly progressive disease that affects the brain and spinal cord.

●          It attacks the nerves that control movement; people can still think and feel, but their muscles refuse to work.

●          It can leave people locked in a failing body, unable to move, talk, and eventually, breathe. It affects people from all communities.

●          It kills five people every day in the UK - 30% within a year and more than 50% within 2 years of diagnosis

●          It affects up to 5,000 adults in the UK at any one time.

●          It has no cure.

●          Five people die from MND every day in the UK.

The MND Association was founded in 1979 by a group of volunteers with experience of living with, or caring for, someone with MND.

Since then, we have grown significantly, with an ever-increasing community of volunteers, supporters and staff, all sharing the same goal - to support people with MND and everyone who cares for them, both now and in the future.

●          We improve care and support for people with MND, their families and carers.

●          We fund and promote research that leads to new understanding and treatments and brings us closer to a cure for MND.

●          We campaign and raise awareness so the needs of people with MND, and everyone who cares for them, are recognised and addressed by wider society.

To find out more about the Association pleases see our website www.mndassociation.org

For press enquiries about the Cheshire Branch of the MND Association please contact Sarah Walker on 07970 216057 / sairsdunn@hotmail.com.