Gala ball raises £40,000 for Wellingborough charity set up in Niamh’s memory

Martin Bayfield and Darren Gough at the ball (Photo by Gavin Sharpe of A-Teck)
Martin Bayfield and Darren Gough at the ball (Photo by Gavin Sharpe of A-Teck)

A star-studded ball saw £40,000 raised which has helped a charity fighting childhood cancer neuroblastoma smash the £250,000 mark in just two-and-a-half years.

Family, friends and supporters of Niamh’s Next Step turned out for the annual gala ball held at Whittlebury Hall on Saturday.

During the evening, hosted by former England and Northampton Saints star Martin Bayfield, guests dug deep to raise £40,000 for the charity set up in memory of Niamh Curry, who lost her fight with neuroblastoma aged just five in May 2012.

Martin Bayfield said: “We can’t change what has happened, but we can hopefully change what may now happen.”

Generous donations made for the live and silent auction on the night helped them reach the £250,000 milestone raised in total by the charity in just two-and-half years.

Niamh’s dad Chris Curry said: “We smashed it, it was a great night.”

The tables set up ready for the Niamh's Next Step annual gala ball at Whittlebury Hall

The tables set up ready for the Niamh's Next Step annual gala ball at Whittlebury Hall

Among the guests were charity patrons Jamie Moore and Peter McDonagh from the boxing world, as well as former cricketer and Talksport presenter Darren Gough.

Former Eastenders actor Tony Discipline was also there, happy to speak to fans and have his picture taken with them.

During the evening, a poignant video featuring Niamh’s sister Hannah was shown.

Hannah said: “Neuroblastoma is a rare childhood cancer that affects 100 children in the UK each year and one of them was my sister.

Neuroblastoma is a rare childhood cancer that affects 100 children in the UK each year and one of them was my sister

Hannah Curry

“They go through long and harsh treatment and only a staggering 30 per cent survive.

“Please help us raise a lot of money to go into research.

“There’s no Government funding so all the funding is raised by you amazing people.

“Please donate to help us fight neuroblastoma and stop it forever.”

About 200 people attended the event, including staff from the ward at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford where Niamh was treated.

There was also support for the event from numerous companies, including sponsorship from Aspers Casino in Northampton.

Paul Diggin, who used to play for Northampton Saints and is now a coach at the club, presented a cheque for £10,000 to the charity from his testimonial year.

Current Saints player Alex Waller was also there, but sadly couldn’t be joined by team-mates Ben Foden and Lee Dickson who are patrons of the charity.

However, Ben Foden had donated a signed England rugby shirt which was auctioned off on the night.

The evening also included entertainment by illusionist David Penn and live music by The Look.

For more information about the charity go to http://www.niamhsnextstep.com/