We were thrilled when Gemma Atkinson offered to organise a Black Tie Ball in our 60th anniversary year to raise money for our Sanctuary. The ball was the first of the major celebrations for our Diamond Anniversary year. Everything connected with the event was donated so it didn’t cost us a penny!

The Ball, held on 1 April, was a massive success and has raised over £10,000 for our animals!

The night included a 4 course meal, an auction and a raffle, all designed to raise money for us. The host was Key103’s Mike Toolan alongside Gemma and he did us proud. Catherine Tyldsley, Corrie’s ‘Eva’ also came along to support us and take part.

There was superb entertainment kicked off by a heart-warming performance from the children at Helen’s Angels Performing Arts Academy.

This was followed by an awesome performance by Gemma and Michelle Hardwick, a fellow Emmerdale actress, who sang several well-known classic songs getting the delighted crowd to their feet. They rocked out to Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Go Your Own Way’, Alannis Morrissette’s ‘You Outta Know’, Erasure’s ‘Respect’ and a brilliant version of the Dolly Parton classic ‘Jolene’.

Gemma admitted she always gets nervous before singing, but was delighted to perform at the first major event of the charity’s 60th anniversary year of celebrations. She said: “Being local to Bury, this charity means such a lot to me. Bleakholt is an amazing charity, the time and effort that people put into the sanctuary blows my mind. Nights like tonight make a huge difference.”

Certificates of thanks were presented to several supporters including Mike Toolan, Animal Friends and Gerry Slade.  Here’s some more snapshots on the night:

Vicki Appleton, the Chair of our Trustees and Gemma made some other special presentations on the night.

Sarah Sikorski is the owner of the Lavender Hotels Group which includes the Stables Hotel. Gemma and Vicki presented Sarah with their Certificate of Diamond Membership to our new Membership Scheme in recognition of their invaluable support for the event. The new four tier Membership Scheme comprises of Bronze, Silver, Gold and Diamond levels and is all aimed at raising funds. Each membership level is at a different cost with different benefits for individual and corporate supporters.

Gemma and Vicki also presented Jessica Mackie of Animal Friends Insurance with their Certificate of Diamond Membership in recognition of their tremendous financial support over the last two years.

Vicki flowers to Gem

Finally, Vicki presented Gemma with a bouquet of flowers in appreciation of her creating and organising such an outstanding event to start the celebrations for our 60th Diamond Anniversary.

Our sincere thanks goes to everyone who organised, supported and attended our first Ball and made it such a special night

You can see more about the ball in the Manchester Evening News article by clicking here