Whizz, pop, sparkle, bang… hundreds of families enjoyed the fantastic Sue Ryder fireworks on Saturday evening at the Nettlebed hospice.
Legendary singer Vince Hill was the host for the evening. He said, “I was thrilled to be asked to do it. Sue Ryder were so good to Annie my wife when she was ill, with all the kindness and concern they showed towards both of us. It was a great help to us the times we spent in the hospice in respite. It was so good to see so many people supporting the night. It certainly seemed that a good time was had by all. The weather was also very kind to us, bit cold but dry.”
The children’s fancy dress Halloween Competition is always a big part of the event and Jo Fox, a Sue Ryder volunteer fundraiser and Margaret Thomas, Community Fundraiser at Sue Ryder had the difficult job of judging it this year. There was ghosts, to skeletons, mummies to witches. zombies to corpse brides. Many had gone to town with their costumes including Beatrix Williamson who had come as Poppy the Troll from the Troll movie. Beatrix told us, “My Mum fixed a water bottle inside my ponytail to get it to stand upright and we made the hairband from pipe cleaners.”
The winners of the Under 5 competition were Amie Wood from Caversham, aged 3, who dressed up as a witch and John Robb, aged 5 from Shepherds Green who came as a ghost. Unbeknown to the judges they then picked John’s brother James, aged 8 who came dressed up as Zombie to win the over 6s and Penny White, aged 7 from Henley who was a headless man. Penny said afterwards, “I came up with the idea and my Mum helped me make the costume and the head.”
Families could enjoy a hog roast, sweet stall, tombola, drinks from the Brakspear tent and a stall selling glow in the dark spinners, star headband boppers and light sabres.
The Fiesta steel band from Tilehurst entertained the crowds before the spectacular firework display.
Tracey Hancock, Head of Hospice Fundraising, comments: “A huge thank you to all the people who volunteered and attended our fireworks night. A particular thank you to our sponsors Invesco Perpetual, and Rotary Club of Reading Abbey and Brakspear who supported the event. We had such a brilliant time celebrating the 25th anniversary of this much loved local event! I’m very happy to reveal we raised £13,000 for Sue Ryder Nettlebed Hospice. This is one of our biggest fundraising events of the year and we are so grateful for the support of the local community.”
We will publish the amount raised tomorrow.