Diversity Dance the Night Away at Havens Hospices Gala Ball

Essex dance troupe Diversity danced up a storm at a local charity’s annual Gala Ball , helping to raise over £100,000 for local hospice care.

Diversity, who shot to fame after winning Britain’s Got Talent back in 2009, wowed more than 270 supporters at the annual Havens Hospices Gala Ball with a spectacular performance at the Cliffs Pavilion on Saturday 18th May.

The group, which opened its dance studio locally last year in Kings Road, Westcliff-on-Sea, also showed incredible generosity by donating a private dance lesson, a tour of its state-of-the-art dance studio, and a signed copy of its Supernova tour brochure for supporters to bid on at the auction. One lucky supporter won the lot by bidding a whopping £3,000.

After their performances, brothers Ashley and Jordan Banjo from Diversity thanked supporters and explained why events like this are important to support their local community. Jordan said: “We all know how important the work is that Havens Hospices does and how, without nights like this, none of that work would be possible. We grew up locally, so know people firsthand who have been helped by Fair Havens and Little Havens. Many of us are parents, too, so Little Havens strikes a chord. Have a great night; let’s raise some money and have fun while doing it.”

Ashley continued: “Our studio is just down the road. We are local boys and we understand how important the power of community is, so hopefully we have lifted your night a little through music and dance and what we all raise will go a long way to doing good in a lot of people’s lives.”

Following a silent auction, luxury raffle and grand auction, £113,000 was raised on the night to support hundreds of local children, young people, and adults living with incurable conditions. Its free, specialist care is available to families for as long as it’s needed, within the home and at its two hospices, Fair Havens and Little Havens.

The night focused on one special little boy called Noah, a Little Havens child who died four years ago at the age of four, after living with an incurable brain tumour. Noah’s family, his mum Kat, dad Nick and twin sister Ella, were supported by Little Havens with respite, symptom management and therapies to support their emotional wellbeing. Little Havens gave the family choice over their care and helped them manage and cope with Noah’s diagnosis and illness, and continue to support them through their bereavement.

Noah’s parents were guests of honour on the night. They gave a speech about how the hospice was there for them during the most difficult time in their lives and highlighted how important fundraising events like this are to raise vital funds.

Following the event,  Kat Wright said: “Thank you so much to all the fundraisers who supported and donated at the Havens Hospices Gala Ball. The difference you are making to families like ours is truly priceless.

“For children like Noah, every day counts, and we will always treasure our memories together at Little Havens.”

Hosted by Havens Hospices Patron and Radio Essex’s Su Harrison, the Gala Ball also hosted Little Havens Patron, singer Simon Webbe, and his wife Little Havens Ambassador Ayshen Webbe. The pair donated to the charity’s crowd-funder, raising more than £40,000 to enable the charity to provide more supportive therapies to children and their families who use the services of Little Havens, to enable them to make every day count when facing the challenges of an incurable condition.

The charity’s other Patron Rudolph Walker, best known for his role as Patrick Truman in BBC’s Eastenders, was also in attendance to thank supporters for their generosity.

The night featured entertainment from the talented RePublic Band who closed the night with an energetic set so supporters could dance the night away.

Wendy Hogarth, Philanthropy Manager and organiser of the Gala Ball at Havens Hospices said: “This year’s event exceeded all our expectations and we are incredibly lucky to have such amazing supporters who always give so generously to support our specialist care.  Without them, quite simply, our care for hundreds of families in the local community wouldn’t exist.

“Our Gala Ball is one of the charity’s highlights of the year, and that’s thanks to so many special people and organisations: Our Patrons, Su Harrison, Rudolph Walker and Simon Webbe, our Ambassador Ayshen Webbe, our amazing headline sponsors Highview, and Champagne Reception sponsors Paul Robinson. Also, our special guest speakers, Kat and Nick Wright, for sharing their experience of our care. Not forgetting incredible Diversity, our very special guests, who not only donated their time to put together such an unforgettable performance for our guests but also donated a very generous prize to help us raise the vital funds needed for the charity.

“A huge thank you to everyone who donated and attended on the night. Everyone at Havens Hospices is blown away by all your support and, thanks to you, we can give families more choice when they believe there is none, when facing an incurable condition.”

To find out more about how Havens Hospices is ‘Making every day count’ for families across Essex visit www.havenshospices.org.uk

Photo credits: Richard Barker

Published 21st May 2024

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Diversity on stage at the Gala Ball