On a memorable November evening, we found ourselves invited to the HE Barnes Centenary ball. This prestigious event, where Sheffield Futures were honoured as the Charity of the Year, offered an extraordinary opportunity for our work to be recognised and supported by a high-standing local business.
Held at the stunning Crown Plaza, the dress code was aptly black tie and glam with a Great Gatsby twist. While the prospect of finding a flapper dress seemed unlikely, Jess’ trusty prom dress rose to the occasion. After a couple of hours of makeup and some sparkly shoes later, we were confident our looks fit the bill.
Meeting with our fellow Young Advisors, we blended into the glamour and Gatsby theme of the night. However, one gentleman out-Gatsbied the lot of us, stealing the show with his top hat, cane, and pocket watch, with such confidence we wouldn’t have been surprised if he whipped out a monocle.
Walking into the Crown Plaza seemed like walking into the set of a period film with its up-lit window frames, traditional decor, and a grand entrance that hinted at the grandeur within. The festive atmosphere, with Christmas just around the corner, adorned the ballroom with twinkling lights, wreaths, baubles, and snow globes, not to mention the light-up dance floor!
We couldn’t help but feel out of our depth as we walked in – not surprising for a few 17-year-olds entering a corporate celebration. Despite our surroundings being unlike anything we’d experienced before, the intimidation quickly evaporated as we were warmly welcomed into the room full of HE Barnes staff, partners, valued customers and even some recognisable figures from Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United.
Although Nigel of HE Barnes claimed to be nervous too, he easily delivered an engaging opening speech that captivated the room. Our CEO Roo made a special appearance to put the spotlight on Sheffield Futures and emphasise the importance of the funds raised this evening.
With the support of our Coordinator, Matt, we dived into conversations about Sheffield Futures, alongside promoting the sale of raffle tickets and auction items. The night flowed well with live music, a fancy three-course meal, and an auction boasting incredible donated prizes, including a box at a Sheffield United game and a 7-night stay in Lanzarote (yes please!).
The raffle sold really well, with the chance to win prizes like a HUGE bottle of gin and a night away in a country hotel. The generosity of everyone there resulted in a staggering amount raised for Sheffield Futures – close to £40,000! This was truly a testament to the unwavering support of HE Barnes and its partners.
We took our carriages around 9.15pm, leaving the hustle and bustle of guests talking and enjoying the night. Overall, we had an amazing night and left slightly tired but smiling wide.
Jess and Tilly x