HIP's annual ball was held on Friday the 6th of October and was a stunning event. The theme of the ball was Black Tie and Diamonds, and as expected, the outfits of the attendees of the ball were very well fitted to the occasion. This year's ball took place at Crewe Hall and seemed to be the perfect venue to celebrate the wonderful work HIP has being doing over the past year. At 7pm, the proceedings began with a drinks reception in the ground floor lobby to allow guests to catch up and admire each other's outfits before heading upstairs for dinner. A glass or two of prosecco or orange juice was drunk before guests were then invited to dine.
If the beauty of the ornate oak staircase wasn't enough to wow the HIP guests, the room certainly was. The long dining room with its gold embellished ceiling, large marble fireplace and rich oil paintings was a sight to behold, as was the incredible attention to detail on the guests' tables, which consisted of little diamantes and flowers that reflected the sumptuousness of the ball's theme. To be certain, the room mirrored the truly special nature of the occasion.
A board at the front of the room showed where all the guests were due to sit. After all guests had perused this and taken their seats, the serving of further drinks followed. Once guests were seated, a formal welcome was offered to the attendees before a game of "Heads and Tails" ensued, in which guests had to guess whether a coin, that had been flipped, had landed on heads or tails. The last man standing in this game then also won a cash prize! Following the hilarity of the game, Grace was said before guests were served their first course of a ham hock terrine or a vegetarian soup. Two further courses of a steak bavette with a creamy mash, or a brie and mushroom wellington, and then a divine lemon tart followed. The delicious food was very warmly received. With drinks being regularly served and the staff being very attentive, the meal overall proved to be a hit.
During the meal, a raffle took place in which guests were able to win some amazing prizes like a voucher for an afternoon tea, jewellery and champagne. Then following this was a big auction, where the biggest prize was a holiday at a villa in Spain for 10 people — pretty incredible! A professional auctioneer was drafted in to conduct the auction and captivated everyone with his incredibly fast talking and witty sense of humour. Many a laugh later, and with a few close calls as to the winners of certain auction prizes, the auction was brought to a close to make way for the very special speeches of the evening. The speeches were started off by Dr Crawford from the Countess of Chester Hospital, who read out many first hand accounts of people suffering with brain injuries. Through these stories, Dr Crawford was able to convey the trauma gone through by those with a brain injury and how the road to recovery is not necessarily easy. However, through organisations like HIP, it was suggested that brain injured individuals have been given a chance to connect more easily with people and that this charity has helped ease their road to recovery. The next speech came from Paul, one of HIP's most faithful volunteers. Paul told guests of his brain injury and how challenging this had been for him in all aspects of his life. The speech was intensely moving, as he spoke of the loneliness he had felt along his recovery path from his brain injury but of the saving grace HIP had been in his life. The extent to which he loved HIP for the support it had been, and is, in his life, was evident from the outpour of emotion he showed, and which marked his speech as a truly special moment for everyone that evening. Once the standing ovation for Paul's beautiful speech had died down, the band, Beardsmith, was invited to the stage and to finish off the night's proceedings. A few people took to the dancefloor whilst others continued to chat with tea and coffee that was being served at tables.
In all, the night proved to be a truly spectacular night. The beauty of the venue was enough to awe guests to begin with but by adding the amazing food, entertainment and heartfelt speeches to the mix, the evening was a wonderful tribute to how special HIP, as a charity and community, is. Of course HIP could not have achieved this without the help of their sponsors. HIP would as such like to offer a warm and heartfelt thanks for the financial help they have provided, which has allowed HIP to organise this event, and create an evening, which has clearly been treasured and enjoyed by all.
By Margaret Allan.