When you’re 110 years old you’ve earned the right to stay out late – have a proper grown up party.
And who needs a telegram from the Queen when you’ve just had the Countess of Wessex round reading a special message? (Sorry, Ma’am.)
That’s why Lancashire sight loss support charity N-Vision which covers Blackpool Fylde and Wyre from coast to deep inland – is … having a ball.
Well, if other, younger charities can do it, why not us? And what better date to celebrate 110 than the 10th of the 10th in the year 2020.
Hence, drum roll please, the 2020 Vision Ball. Ta-dah!
We were born in the year Dr Crippen was hanged, having started the year by poisoning his wife. That’s Crippen, not us.
Charles Rolls (yes, the Rolls of Rolls Royce) became the first British aviator to die in an air crash – barely a month after making the first non-stop double crossing of the English Channel by plane.
Miners and police were clashing. Suffragettes and police were clashing.
A massive pit disaster, right here in what was, historically, Lancashire, now Greater Manchester, claimed 344 lives, and left just one survivor.
George V had become king on the death of his father Edward VII.
The first labour exchange had opened.
And the 80k capacity Old Trafford had become home to Manchester United – who lost to Liverpool (4-3) on their very first game there. (Smirk.)
As for us? We were meeting in the coroner’s court room, courtesy of the chief constable, after agreeing to form a society to ‘help the blind’ in Blackpool and the Fylde.
Two years later we were providing employment by chopping and bundling firewood – until the First World War kept the home fires burning.
By 1919 we were back on the home front ourselves, meeting monthly, and in 1924 we became the Blackpool and Fylde Society for the Blind – with a Sunshine Bazaar the very next year at the Winter Gardens, raising a HUGE sum of money, £2845. Two years later the society did it all over again and raised even more money, £3780, no mean amount by today’s standards.
We could go on but we won’t because we want to sell tickets rather than name drop Princess Alexandra (twice), Fred Pontin, Ted Heath, Princess Diana, Jimmy Armfield and countless more – including the recent visit by the Countess of Wessex, one of those rare royals capable of converting republicans to monarchists on the spot…
And not counting all the big names interviewed for the Talking Newspaper which started up in 1977 and is still going strong. And while we’re name dropping, we haven’t dropped our old name, The Blackpool Fylde and Wyre Society for the Blind, but merely recognised the fact it goes on a bit. So, we now trade as N-Vision, new logo and all, and tag on the old name if people really need it spelling out - and for old times’ sake.
No Sunshine Bazaar – given the fact that sunshine itself seems bizarre these days – but that ball is definitely happening. and it’s just £45 (or £400 for a table of 10) at The Village Hotel, East Park Drive, Blackpool, from 7pm to 1am. It’s a great venue for a ball particularly on a Saturday night in the Lights (Illuminations) season – steering clear of the seafront traffic. Drink on arrival, three course evening meal, live entertainment, auction and raffle, lots of goodies, and the chance to dress to impress.
You can get those tickets from fundraiser Abby Newby – she’s the one pictured with Ian ‘Shep’ Shepherd of Radio Wave above. Resort-based radio favourite Shep devoted a whole FIVE HOURS to an outside broadcast from N-Vision’s Bosworth Place, Squires Gate, base earlier this month. The weather was atrocious, they didn’t get fed (Shep’s on a diet), they left, over-caffeinated, in almost total darkness and tortured by the scent of chips heavy on the chill night air … and they (and the charity) loved every minute of it. Shep interviewed anyone who strayed past – although the clients studiously avoided eye contact with the team (which kind of goes with the turf…) and got the scoop on our Ball.
As Abby explains: “It’s been a goal of ours to hold a charity ball for a long time, and after months of planning we are ready to invite you all!
‘We hope to raise lots of money on the evening to continue and grow all the important support and services we offer to the visually impaired across Blackpool, Fylde & Wyre.
We are still looking for local businesses to sponsor various parts of the event, so if you know any businesses who would like to partner with us please ask them to get in touch with me on 01253 362692 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org. “
Now while the 2020 Vision Ball is the big one – we also have The Big One.
Abby’s currently recruiting folk with a head for heights – or out to conquer their fears – to Walk The Big One at Blackpool Pleasure Beach at a date yet to be determined by the numbers taking part for this charity.
There’s no charge to enter, she stresses, but it’s conditional on raising at least £100 for N-Vision. And with all that wind at the top you’ll get a free facelift - as well as help raise the charity’s profile and funds.
Abby’s likely to be joined by her extended family of work mates – from right across the operation and it’s hoped the Low Vision Centre will set their sights high too. Several visually impaired people, including Julie Barlow, on staff, and client Mark Aylott, who’s a rollercoaster fan and has even painted The Big One (as a picture, not the structure!) may be coming along for the ride’s climb – the ultimate white knuckler.
The charity has a raft of other events between now and then, starting with an Easter quiz, incredibly popular, on site at the social hub Sharples Hall, April 2, from 6pm to 9.30pm. Last year the event raised just short of £1000.
The charity is also one of the good causes supported by the brand-new Wyre Community Lottery – and the first draw is on Saturday March 21. To back N-Vision see https://www.wyrelottery.co.uk/support/n-vision
Follow N-Vision on Facebook @nvisionnw and Twitter @N_Vision_NW or check out the website for news and events https://nvision-nw.co.uk/upcoming-events-2020/
"Its been a goal of ours to hold a charity ball for a long time, and after months of planning we are ready to invite you all!"
Abby Newby fundraiser N-Vision