Norwich Show ball goes pink

More than 800 guests - many decked out head to toe in pink - gathered last night for one of the biggest events of the Norfolk social calendar and raised thousands of pounds for charity in the process.

More than 800 guests - many decked out head to toe in pink - gathered last night for one of the biggest events of the Norfolk social calendar and raised thousands of pounds for charity in the process.

The glittering Royal Norfolk Show Charity Ball saw leading members of the county's business and farming communities come together for the traditional curtain raiser to next week's show.

This year's theme was 'Pink and Bling' and guests had no hesitation in getting into the mood by donning their ballgowns and bow ties for the occasion at the showground.

The selected charity was Breakthrough Breast Cancer and £7,250 had been raised in sponsorship, donations and ticket sales even before the ball began. Chris Bailey, one of the organisers, hoped an auction and raffle would double this figure, making it one of the most successful balls yet.

Mr Bailey began arranging events in aid of the breast cancer charity eight years ago after and one of his sisters was diagnosed with the disease. His mother died from breast cancer when he was aged 13

He said: “The first event we organised was in my back garden and it raised a few hundred pounds. Every year we've tried to take it one step further and this year myself and my fellow organiser Alison Lowe are delighted to have the chance to be involved in the show ball.

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“We chose pink to reflect the nature of the charity and thought the idea of bling went well. It is a really a good excuse for the women to dress up in their best dresses and the men to wear a pink bow tie or cravat and all just have a great time getting in the mood for the show.

“It has taken months of hard work and planning but just standing in the marquee and seeing it decorated so splendidly makes it all worthwhile. The main thing is we have already done really well for the charity and hopefully can do even better.”

Guests were treated to a three course dinner, dancing to 'Scratch the Cat' and a disco along with the auction and raffle. The auction prizes were a trip to meet Jools Holland and see him in concert; a trip for eight people on a Freres 51 yacht; a doodle book including illustration by celebrities such as Dolly Parton and Look East presenters Stewart White and Suzie Fowler-Watt; a chocolate morning at the Lavender House restaurant; and a shooting day at High Lodge.

Mr Bailey said: “We are hugely grateful for the support many big Norfolk companies and a wide range of individuals who all did their bit to make this night a success.”