Inaugural GeeWizz charity ball raises more than £61,000

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The organisers behind a grand charity ball have spoken of their delight after raising more than £61,000 to support an Ipswich schoolgirl and crucial cancer research.

The GeeWizz Secret Garden Ball saw more than 250 people attend the event at The Hangar at Milsoms Kesgrave Hall.

The magnificent sell-out, black-tie ball was the first big fundraiser by the new charitable foundation, set up by campaigner and fundraiser Gina Long MBE in December.

It was supported by former England cricketer Graeme Swann, Suffolk operatic star Laura Wright, who performed, and popular television presenter Chris Hollins who was the MC for the evening.

A grand auction helped raise the fantastic sum and Gina said she was blown away by the generosity in the room and towards the GeeWizz charity.

Money raised will go to supporting Ipswich schoolgirl Kim Sale who was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, before she underwent a life-saving leg amputation, as well as Sarcoma UK.

Gina said: “I would like to say a huge and heartfelt thank you to everyone who supported the auction.

“To raise such a sum of money is incredible and a true testimony to the generosity of our local community. The money raised will make a huge difference to the people supported by GeeWizz.”

Kellie Thorndyke, mum of Kim Sale, said: “The £5,000 donation from Tony and Liz Nicholl specifically to help Kim get a prosthetic sports blade will be life-changing for her.

“We are overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness Kim, and we as a family, have received. I would like to say a massive thank you to Gina and the GeeWizz charity and everyone who attended the beautiful ball.”

Among the fantastic auction items was a work of art donated by kind-hearted 13-year-old Molly Jarvis which raised £1,800. Molly’s dad, Craig, also attended the event just weeks after being seriously injured in a road traffic accident.

Of the donation, Gina said: “Speaking to her proud parents, I know how brilliant Molly has been in supporting her own family charity. We were thrilled and very touched to have this incredible kind donation and the fact it raised £1,800 simply topped off a wonderful gesture.”

Chris Hollins said: “I was honoured to be the first host of the GeeWizz Secret Garden Ball. I have known Gina for many years and her enthusiasm, perseverance and desire to do good is admirable.”

GeeWizz was set up by Gina at the end of last year to create a platform to purchase much-needed equipment for children in Suffolk helping two specific groups – children with disabilities and those who are affected by cancer, either directly or indirectly, or those carrying out research into the disease especially sarcoma and breast cancer.

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