What a night it was on 14 October when over 50 people came together to raise funds for Pulford Publicity’s charity of the year Dorset Mind.
Six months of planning and preparation culminated in an exceptional fundraiser held at Dudsbury Golf Club.
At the 11th hour, singer Charlotte Geary had to pull out due to a throat infection.
One of the organisers, Janine Pulford, said: “Against all probabilities our long-standing friend, Matt Black, came to the rescue and was able to bring his piano and put on one of his legendary performances. Not only that, he generously waived his expenses and asked for them to be donated to Dorset Mind.”
Pulford Publicity’s MD Ben Pulford welcomed everyone and gave a brief introduction. This was followed by Dorset Mind’s CEO, Linda O’Sullivan who travelled from Bridport on the night, and Marie Glen, legacy and bids officer, explaining about the charity’s work and its need for funds to help those in Dorset with mental health issues. Marie touched on a personal experience and gave examples of how Dorset Mind can help people in crisis.
A flash auction by ‘auctioneer’ Tony Brown for champagne and Prosecco donated by him raised £55. This was followed by a three-course meal and coffee in the Brabant Suite at the golf club.
After dinner, Matt Black had everyone in stitches as he fired off a string of hilarious jokes whilst playing the piano. He even got everyone singing ‘Happy Birthday’ in Monty Python-esque voices to Natasha Boyland who was celebrating her birthday with a table of guests.
On a more serious note, Matt sang ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me’ – a song that he said had got him through a difficult time in his life.
Janine said: “Matt is a true legend. Dorset is so lucky to have him. He really should be on TV sharing his talent with the world.”
Tony Brown stepped away from his dinner table and into the auctioneer’s role after coffee and got interest soaring in 15 lots.
A set of Portmeirion bowls donated by Salamander Cook Shop reached £100 and a luxury hamper (a late ‘lot’ from Virginia Hayward in Shaftesbury) made £120, a box of Devon Red Cider donated by Sandford Orchards made £40, pet photography by Matt Dixon and donated by him raised £40, an afternoon tea donated by Stewarts Garden Centres made £40 and Marwell Zoo entry tickets donated by the zoo reached £75.
A surprise and generous donation of an air conditioning package for a bedroom worth £1,500 was given on the night by Suzanne and Sam Lovell from Meridian Air Conditioning. It made an incredible £600 for the charity, and then came a shock – you will have to check out our social media pages to discover what it was, or read our next Dorset View online or when it comes through your letterbox.
Sue Lovell of Meridian outbid everyone for the Ferndown Florist flower arrangement, which flew to £80 and without hesitation she presented it to Janine in thanks for “the lovely evening.” She also won the giant cuddly toy pig in the raffle and kindly donated it to Tony Brown who’d had his eye on it all night. He aptly named it MAC after Meridian Air Conditioning!
The evening was filmed by Bournemouth University journalism student Jecs Davies who is working with Pulford Publicity. Jecs also found time on the night to interview Linda O’Sullivan, Matt Black and Tony Brown. Video footage should be available shortly.
Pulford Publicity’s directors Janine, Ben and Louis Pulford and company secretary Nick Pulford would like to say a big “thank you” to everyone who supported the charity event from businesses donating prizes to the diners on the night. The Brabant Suite at the golf club proved to be a perfect venue. Ferndown should be proud of its facilities and though the golf club is not having its lease renewed next March, the hotel and spa will not be affected,
The raffle, auction and dinner raised over £2,000 for Dorset Mind.
Marie Glen said, “That is an incredible amount of money raised, and could potentially provide up to 135 one-to-one support sessions to help people struggling from social isolation as a result of symptoms of anxiety or depression.”