AN appeal has edged close to its target after a glittering ball raised £25,000.
The huge cash boost for St Benedict’s Hospice came thanks to a night of entertainment with a James Bond theme at Ramside Hall Hotel in Durham.
More than 230 supporters of the Ryhope complex joined in the Diamonds and Dinner Jackets Ball, posing for pictures alongside Jaws look-alike Gary Tiplady, playing on gaming tables inspired by Casino Royale and dancing along to Bond tribute band Q The Music after a four-course dinner.
A diamond ring was among the prizes, while others bid for gifts in the silent auction, taking home lots including signed Downton Abbey memorabilia.
The event was held to mark the 30th anniversary of the hospice, which began as a ward at Sunderland’s Havelock Hospital before making a move to Newcastle Road and then Ryhope last year to a purposed built 14-bed centre.
The hospice hopes to raise another £10,000 by Christmas to reach its £45,000 to buy a minibus and cover its first year’s running costs.
Derek Moss, chairman of St Benedict’s Hospice Board of Trustees, said: “It felt like James Bond himself would walk in at any minute with Q The Music creating a fantastic big band sound, the buzz around the casino tables and the likes of Jaws tapping people on the shoulder.
“Everyone seemed to have a fantastic time and our thanks go to all those who dug deep and helped us raise so much to enhance the lives of our patients.”
The hospice’s care is provided by the NHS as part of South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust and supported by the St Benedict’s Hospice charity.
This summer it launched a shop in Sea Road, Fulwell, to generate an income to support its work, which includes clinics and other services.
Donations to the hospice’s 30th anniversary minibus appeal can be made by contacting the fund-raising team on 512 8436 or by sending a text stating SBHA30 £10 to 70070.