Photo gallery: Aquila Club’s hard work pays off as Norwich charity ball raises �7,000

Over the past year they have meticulously taken care of every last detail, from signing up sponsors to booking the band.

They even toiled through half term as they hand-crafted 300 truffles and learned to serve their guests champagne.

All the hard work paid off for the talented members of Kinsale Junior School's Aquila Club on Saturday, as more than 180 people arrived at Dunston Hall to enjoy the fruits of their labours.

And the professional charity ball, organised by six youngsters aged between seven and 11-years- old, proved a soaring success as its fundraising total broke through the �7,000 barrier.

Carolyn Baxter, the pupils' headteacher at the school in Middleton's Road, Hellesdon, congratulated the Aquila Club for putting on 'a wonderful evening'.

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She said: 'I think the adults were very, very impressed with what the children had done, and everyone enjoyed themselves.'

As well as making arrangements for the evening, club members had to balance the books and ensure that the ball delivered a return, to be split between Norfolk's children's bereavement charity Nelson's Journey and Children in Need.

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'Lots of people were remarking on how well they had done, especially in today's financial climate, to get so much sponsorship,' said Mrs Baxter.

But the benefits of the ball went far beyond the cash that was raised, she added.

'It's also about giving up your time, and these children have given up considerable amounts of their own time.'

The six members – Callum Metcalf, Sophie Mottholie, Lucy Brock, Emily Cushion, Adam Cork and Rebecca Cator – have been working on the ball since last December, meeting weekly to discuss plans and giving up free time during term time and holidays to make their event a night to remember.

'It was wonderful for them to finally see the fruits of their labours, said Mrs Baxter.

Aquila members welcomed the guests as they arrived at Dunston Hall, using their new-found skills to serve champagne before they moved through to their suite.

Before the three-course dinner, female guests were presented with a yellow rose by members, who then made their exits and left their guests to enjoy the evening.

Amid entertainment from a live magician and a helium-balloon raffle, there was time for a cameo return from two former Aquila Club members, Ailsa Nice and Callum Park, as auctioneers, before guests hit the dancefloor to the sound of live band Scratch the Cat.

Mrs Baxter said the ball had been the result of months of hard work from their children, but also thanked their parents for their efforts. 'The children have also been supported so incredibly by the community, and in sponsorship and prizes. That's why we are looking at this healthy profit.

'They have learned an awful lot and I've learned a lot too. We have had to research and ask for help where necessary.'

The ball has become the latest success for the Aquila Club, which has previously designed a children's tourist information leaflet, a board game celebrating Norfolk's culinary fare and a celebrity-backed cookbook.

Thoughts of the club's next project will have to wait a while however.

'I think the next few morning meetings for the Aquila Club will be taken up with writing thank-you cards,' said Mrs Baxter. 'Lots of thank-you cards.'

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