Gala raised more than £26K for Ronald McDonald House Charities UK and The Early Birth Association

A gala ball has raised more than £26,000 for Ronald McDonald House Charities UK and The Early Birth Association (EBA).

Midsummer Night’s Dream Ball in support of two charities

A gala ball has raised more than £26,000 for two charities that ease the traumatic journey for parents of premature and sick babies.

The inaugural Midsummer Night’s Dream Ball took place on Saturday 25th June at The Jurys Inn Waterfront in Brighton in support of Ronald McDonald House Charities UK and The Early Birth Association (EBA).

The 140 guests who attended the black-tie event were treated to an evening themed around Shakespeare’s comedy play, in a woodland setting, hosted by actor Clive Wedderburn. Entertainment was provided by six-piece band Strobe, guest speakers including Danielle Evans aka ‘Miss Brighton’, and alluring lots in the live auction.

Client’s personal experience of both charities

Mum-of-three Gemma Dearden, 39, from Angmering, West Sussex, spoke about her own personal experience of both charities, after her “miracle baby” daughter Ivy-Rose was treated at Trevor Mann Baby Unit (TMBU) and Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital.

Gemma said: “We spent one year and 13 days staying at Ronald McDonald House Brighton after Ivy-Rose was born 15 weeks prematurely in July 2018, weighing less than half a kilogram (450g). Being born so early and so small, Ivy was very poorly. We were warned early on that the odds of survival were not in her favour. Doctors, we learned, liked statistics. Ivy showed us from day one that she does not!

“On day five, I was well enough to be discharged and was faced with leaving my very poorly little girl and travelling 45 minutes each way, every day, to be with her. That’s where the Ronald McDonald House Brighton came in. The House was just over the road, and I could stay for as long as I needed. Walking into the House for the first time, I burst into tears! I felt relieved and a had a sense that I was at home.”

Ronald McDonald House Charities UK

Ronald McDonald House Charities UK provides free ‘home away from home’ accommodation for the families of sick children, for as long as they need it, so parents can stay close to their child in hospital and receive the comfort and support they need.

The Ronald McDonald House Brighton opened in April 1999 and since its opening, it has looked after more than 3,000 families. The House has 18 bedrooms and supports families of children and premature babies being treated at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital and TMBU.

The Charity’s vision is for every child in the hospital to have their families close by, and to ensure they are fully supported in their Houses and remain actively involved in their child’s care.

Abigail Sainty, Community Fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House Charities UK, said: “Every donation made will make a big difference to families who are facing the most traumatic time imaginable.

“The funds raised will enable us to take some stress and anxiety away from these families, by alleviating financial pressures, keeping the whole family unit together and providing them with resources they need in hospital so they can focus on staying strong for their baby.

“We’re very grateful to everyone who supported this event simply by coming to enjoy themselves, by donating amazing prizes for the raffle and auction, our family speaker Gemma, Host Clive Wedderburn, auctioneer David Atkins and to all our amazing sponsors, South Coast Foods, DNP restaurants and especially, Principle Restaurants Ltd and Lawton & Dawe Properties.

“We cannot thank them enough for choosing to support families in need.”

The Early Birth Association

The EBA makes a positive difference for babies, families, and staff in neonatal care at the TMBU at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, and the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) at the Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) in Haywards Heath.

The EBA provides support to the babies (and their families) treated on TMBU and PRH SCBU and raises funds to purchase equipment for the units to help save more babies’ lives. The EBA is run by a group of volunteer parents and family members who have had premature or unwell babies.

Michelle Miles, co-chair from The Early Birth Association said: “As a former parent at TMBU and the SCBU at the PRH in Haywards Heath, I know first-hand how hard it is to have your baby born into an environment where they will not survive without intervention, and to watch their primary care delivered by someone else.

“From all funds that we receive, every penny goes directly back to the units. Not only do we purchase vital lifesaving equipment but also the small comfort items for babies such as fleece blankets as well as tea, coffee, and biscuits for the parents.”

To find out more about The EBA, go to:

For more information on Ronald McDonald House Charities UK, please visit:


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