Teenagers organise Wonderland Charity Ball for the Teenage Cancer Trust

St. James' Park by smlp.co.uk. Used under a Creative Commons licence

St. James’ Park by smlp.co.uk. Used under a Creative Commons licence

At the start of this year, a group of 16-year-old students formed a committee dedicated to raising money for the Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT). And next month, they will host a Wonderland Charity Ball to cap off their fundraising efforts.

The foursome met at the Royal Grammar School in Jesmond, and is made up of students Ellie Crake, Lucy Elliott, Jack Ridout and Ashleigh Mills.

JesmondLocal spoke to Ashleigh Mills, who explained the friends’ strong support for TCT: “we chose this charity because each member of the committee have all been affected by cancer in some form,” she explains. “Personally, I have cancer in the history of my family; both my great-grandmothers had cancer and unfortunately passed away from it when I was 10-years-old.”

It’s their personal encounters that have driven the group’s interest in TCT and determination to support them. “Being teenagers ourselves, we couldn’t imagine how hard it must be for young people to have to adapt to the changes in their life which are brought about by the treatment,” she continues.

On October 4th the team are hosting a charity ball in the Bamburgh Suite of St James’ Park. A £40 ticket will include a welcome drink on arrival, a three course dinner and the evening’s entertainment, which includes former Pop Idol finalist Aaron Bayley and band. A group saver ticket is available at the lower price of £375 for a table of ten people.

There’s a theme to the evening, and although the dress code suggests black tie and ball gowns, it gives rise to the opportunity for fancy dress with a “quirky and mad edge to it”, Mills says. “We agreed on an Alice in Wonderland theme because we felt it was most relevant to children. Since the Teenage Cancer Trust treat children and young adults, we felt this increased the relevance”.

The Teenage Cancer Trust has over 20 years’ experience of supporting young adults with cancer. “They’re an extremely important charity who provide treatment and support from the moment the patient hears the word cancer,” Mills explains. Their website stresses the importance of age-appropriate treatment and care, promising that they “make sure they’re treated as young people first, cancer patients second and everything we do aims to improve their quality of life and chances of survival.”

So passionate about their cause, the committee don’t have any plans to rest after the event. “We’ve set up a Just Giving page and have managed to raise £665 so far. After the ball, we are planning to continue our fundraising by doing some bag packing in supermarkets.”

“We’re very excited and are looking forward to everything coming together.” Mills reports. Looking forward to the event’s success, the team also have high hopes for their fundraising future, “we are hoping that this may become a regular occurrence, maybe annually. We hope to pass the idea onto the years below in our school so that they can carry on our legacy – so to speak.”

For more information about the event, or to purchase tickets to the Wonderland Charity Ball, the committee are contactable at wonderlandcharityball@hotmail.com, although the deadline for ticket reservation is this Friday the 20th September. Donations are welcomed at www.justgiving.com/wonderlandcharityball for those who cannot attend but still wish to support the students in their fundraising.