Big-hearted ladies of Aberdeen dug deep to raise an incredible £73,000 for Children’s Hospices Across Scotland – better known as CHAS – at the city’s annual Ladies Lunch, held at the Marcliffe Hotel last week. The event, now in its seventh year, was hosted by singer, entertainer and long-time CHAS supporter Michelle McManus.
Guests enjoyed a two-course meal and fizz reception, stories and songs from Michelle, a live performance from the Sugahoneyz, fundraising games and the hotly anticipated silent auction, which included dozens of prizes such as a day with The Queen’s Pony, luxury breaks in Spain, Latvia, Estonia and Andy Murray’s hotel, as well as signed memorabilia from TV and football stars, flying lessons, VIP tickets to see Elton John on his farewell tour, an Arctic Trek for CHAS and a year’s supply of Mackie’s ice cream.
The live auction, compered by local MC, Steven J Innes, sent the ladies’ pulses racing as they bid for prizes such as a stay at Robert De Niro’s Nobu Ibiza Bay resort and a striking original artwork by acclaimed local artist Mary Louise Butterworth.
Highlighting the importance of the charity’s work, guest of honour and parent speaker David Scanlan made an emotive speech about his daughter Willow, who was cared for by CHAS at Home in Aberdeen and Robin House in Balloch. David, accompanied by wife Gina, shared his family’s story and told the ladies about the care and support they received from CHAS during the most difficult time imaginable.
Maria McGill, Chief Executive at CHAS, said:
“We currently support 48 children and their siblings and families from the northeast – but we want to go further and support every baby, child and young person who needs us right across Grampian.
“This year, our commitment to reach every family in Scotland has seen us expand our Aberdeen-based team. With the support of the Aberdeen ladies, we’ve achieved our ‘Mission Possible’ in appointing a new CHAS Diana Children’s Nurse, based at the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital, and grown our CHAS at Home team.
“We’re recruiting a new social worker for Aberdeen, and a new full-time volunteering lead who will work alongside volunteers to support families in their own homes. In addition, we are working with NHS Grampian to increase specialist medical support in this part of Scotland. However, the difficult truth remains that the number of families who need our support is rising.
“We can’t tackle that goal without the generosity of supporters like the Aberdeen Ladies Lunch network, who have raised an incredible amount to help us with our work in the region. We are absolutely bowled over by this total, which will go such a long way to benefit these families. I would also like to say a heartfelt thank you to David Scanlan, our guest of honour, for speaking so eloquently about the journey that his family have been on.”
In Scotland, nearly 16,000 children and young people live with life-shortening conditions and CHAS is determined to reach every family who needs its services. CHAS works across Scotland, able to provides its hospice services nation-wide for babies, children and young people with life-shortening conditions. CHAS offers palliative, respite and end-of-life care from Rachel House in Kinross and Robin House in Balloch.
The CHAS at Home service supports families with the services of a hospice yet in their own homes across the whole of Scotland. Through its Diana Children’s Nurses working in hospitals across the country, they can support families and clinical teams.