The High Sheriff of Clwyd raised more than £12,000 for a Parkinson’s disease charity with a glittering ball in aid of a cause close to her heart.
Stephanie Catherall organised the black tie event at Carden Park country hotel to raise money for Parkinson’s UK which aims to help find a cure and improve the life of everyone affected by the condition.
Stephanie’s husband David, managing director of TDC Services in Ewloe, was diagnosed with the condition 10 years ago and was there at her side for the event.
Guests were treated to a champagne and canapé reception, a four-course meal with wine kindly donated by Charles Mitchell Wines Manchester and live entertainment from Sing Out Gospel Choir.
Later in the evening, there was a glittering array of prizes to snap up in the auction including a private tour of one of the world’s best classic Jaguar car collection, a tutored wine tasting for 10 people, a dinner, show and backstage tour for one of three productions at Theatr Clwyd and a meal cooked in your own home for 10 people by top Welsh chef Graham Tinsley.
Stephanie, of Nercwys, near Mold, said: “The room looked fantastic, the food was amazing and the hotel team were superb. The staff just couldn’t do enough. Special thanks must go to Hamish Ferguson, the General Manager, Executive Chef Graham Tinsley, and the whole brilliant events team.
“It was a lot of hard work but there was so much generosity from our guests which helped to make the night a true success.
“At the end of the night, I read a poem which I wrote for David for his 60th birthday. I had to tweak it a bit but the sentiment and how I felt about him was still the same.
“It was two weeks after I read that poem to him, on his 60th birthday, that we found out he had Parkinson’s which felt so unfair after how hard he had worked to build up his business and look after his family.
“I told everyone at the ball that I remembered thinking, ‘how will he cope?’. But I also reassured them that I needn’t have worried because he has been brilliant, carrying on working, carrying on with life and making the most of everything. I am very proud of him.”
There was also a raffle on the night which raised £1,000 for Crimebeat, which is the official youth crime prevention charity of the High Sheriffs’ Association of England and Wales.
An estimated seven to 10 million people worldwide have Parkinson’s including Back to the Future film star Michael J Fox and Scottish comedian, actor, musician and presenter Billy Connolly.
It is the second more common degenerative neurological disorder after Alzheimer’s disease and is caused when some of the nerve cells in the brain which produce the chemical dopamine die.
Dopamine allows messages to be sent to the parts of the brain that co-ordinate movement. With the loss of dopamine-producing nerve cells, these parts of the brain are unable to work normally, causing symptoms of Parkinson’s to appear.
One of the early signs of Parkinson’s, which is a progressive neurological condition, is that people’s handwriting will become smaller.
Sarah Green, North West Regional Fundraiser, who was at the event, said: “It was a lovely event, everyone was having such a happy time and there was clearly a lot of affection for Stephanie and David and what they have been through.
“The first point in our logo states ‘Change Attitudes’ and the way we are able to do this is by going out and talking to people and having those conversations. It’s about letting people know what it is like for people and their families who are dealing with Parkinson’s and encouraging a level of empathy and understanding around the condition.
“For me, that’s been one of the most poignant things about this charity ball. It has raised a fantastic sum of money which we are so grateful to everyone for. But Stephanie standing up at the end and talking about David and how proud she is of how he has coped with it really brought it home to everyone at the event about what families have to go through when they are given a diagnosis of Parkinson’s.
“You could see that quite clearly from their reactions to her speech.”
To find out more about Parkinson’s UK, go to www.parkinsons.org.uk or call 0808 800 0303.