Glitz and Glamour at Disco for Dementia

Therese McCall and event organising committee
Therese McCall and event organising committee

A disco night has raised thousands of pounds for a dementia charity.

The event has been set up by Therese McCall, who has been personally affected by dementia following the diagnosis and consequent death of her mother, and she feels strongly about providing better dementia care.

On the dance floor

On the dance floor

Together with a group of friends, Therese decided to organise a fundraising evening for local charity – Dementia Support.

Therese heard about this young charity’s vision to provide complete dementia services under one roof and was inspired to support them achieve their goal. The Dementia Support Hub will provide services such as Memory Assessment, Community Café and Garden, early onset dementia services, information and advice, and therapeutic and social activities for the West Sussex community.

Therese spoke about her plans to fundraise and how the group of friends came up with the idea of replicating the famous 1970s New York nightclub – Studio 54.

She said: “I got together a few of my local friends, who had been affected by dementia in one way or another. Mariella Fleming, who runs Southend Barns, offered to help coordinate the event. Obviously with her experience and organisational skills, we knew we would be able to put on a great occasion. Philippa Gogarty, who is the founder and co-owner of Microscooter, offered her help as did Caroline Andrews, Patricia Garratt (who runs her own successful property business) and Sandra McKirgan, all who have accountancy backgrounds.

Therese McCall

Therese McCall

In my past life I have worked as the events organiser for The Prince’s Trust and Comic Relief, so between us all we knew how to put on a good fundraiser.”

“We came up with the idea of doing a nightclub themed event and in our planning came across the iconic notorious 1970s New York nightclub - Studio 54. This was the one where Bianca Jagger rode in on a white horse one evening! We didn’t think we could get away with a horse but we managed to source more than 30 glitter balls and one huge glitter ball that was over one metre diameter and so heavy it took four men to lift it.

Jeremy Pardey, the CEO of Butlins in Bognor Regis, was incredibly generous offering us the conference centre at Butlins free of charge for our venue, as well as many other components of the event.

The place was transformed with glitter balls, light-up dance floor, and 1970s memorabilia into a replica Studio 54 Nightclub. Other local businesses helped tremendously. Phil Haddow of Haddow Electrical provided all the electrics and sound system free of charge which allowed us to maximise our profits from our ticket prices in aid of Dementia Support. We managed to source some fantastic auction prizes from both local and more national sources, and ran the auction online and on the night to help raise more funds for the charity.”

“The evening was a huge success; everyone had a brilliant time partying and dancing to the great sounds of Brutus Gold, a famous Manchester act who had literally everyone on the dance floor. Thank you to everyone who was involved and attended. We all had such a fun time organising it, we are already planning to do another one!

Over all the evening made a whopping great £23,000 profit, all of which will go directly to helping create the Dementia Support Hub which is fantastic.”

Therese gave an insight into what it was like to be affected by dementia when her mother was diagnosed with the disease.

She said: “I spent the past eight years watching my mum slowly disintegrate and disappear in front of me as she was overtaken by this terrible disease that is Dementia. Bit by bit her character and personality disappeared. She became totally unable to look after herself. It was terrible to witness. When mum was deteriorating I found there was very little coordinated help out there and I felt adrift and very lonely.

“When mum finally passed away after her long battle I really wanted to do something to help others who were in the same situation as me to find some help and support. That’s when I heard about Dementia Support and their plans for the new Hub. And that’s when the idea of putting together a fun fundraising evening, where we could get everyone together, raise awareness and raise money.”

Dementia Support is extremely grateful to Therese and her friends for their fundraising, and is delighted to announce that Therese is now a member of the Fundraising Advisory Board.

The charity needs to urgently raise £1.74 million to renovate their building in Tangmere and install the dementia services so the Dementia Support Hub can officially open in Spring 2018. The Hub will include essential services for people living with dementia, their friends, family and carers; this will be a lasting legacy for generations to come and inspire people to live well with dementia and know they are supported.

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