Hundreds of people from Teesside’s business community will help a well-known charity achieve a record-breaking sum for one event during a fundraiser next month.
Boro legend Colin Cooper and his wife Julie (pictured above) are hoping the Finlay Cooper Fund’s fifth biannual Dragonfly Ball, being held at Wynyard Hall on Friday June 15, will help the charity set up in memory of their son continue transforming the lives of children throughout Teesside and beyond.
The charity has already surpassed sales for its last ball two years ago, with 350 tickets sold and 25 local businesses all supporting the event so far.
But organisers want to smash the 400 mark and beat the £35,000 raised from the last Dragonfly Ball in 2016.
Trustee Nick Waites said: “The support we’ve had from the Teesside business community has been phenomenal so far, and I know it is very much appreciated by Colin, Julie and the board of trustees.
“We’ve got some cracking entertainment lined up for the evening itself along with some fantastic auction prizes which we’ll be revealing more about very soon.
“But we’d love to hit the 400 mark in ticket sales as quickly as possible which will put us well on track to smashing our target.”
Among the firms supporting the fund’s Dragonfly Ball is Tees Business publishers Resolution Media and Publishing, Stockton-based building services contractors LJJ and Middlesbrough FC’s shirt sponsors Ramsdens.
Other businesses attending the ball include Network Scaffolding, Industrial Technology Systems, Endeavour Partnership, Anderson Barrowcliff, Cornerstone Business Solutions, Archers, Begbies Traynor, Joslin Rhodes, P&R Construction, Active Chartered Financial Planners, Joseph Parr, Walton Clark Whitehill, Middlesbrough FC, D&J Contracts, Devereux Developments, Motif8, Vintage Chartered Financial Planners, Clive Owen, Robertson Simpson, Weeeco, John Davey and The Build Directory.
The Finlay Cooper Fund has raised well over half a million pounds for children’s causes over the last 12 years but the family say they have no intention of resting on their laurels.
Now they’re asking businesses and individuals to back them once again ahead of the major fundraising event in the charity’s calendar, the glittering black tie dinner in the Grand Marquee at Wynyard.
“Wynyard Hall is a wonderful venue and it’s always a fantastic night with a great band and an amazing auction,” said Julie.
“It’s full of lovely people who are all there for the same reason, to raise money and have a good time together.”
“People come to the ball to support the fund but if we can give them a cracking night as well, with some good music, food and fantastic company, then that’s even better,” added ex-England defender Colin.
The fund was inspired by the Coopers’ two-year-old son Finlay, who died in a choking accident on the evening of Boro’s 2-0 FA Cup win over Manchester United in 2002. It has no overheads, meaning that every penny raised goes towards transforming children’s lives.
Past projects have included supporting Zoe’s Place and Butterwick Children’s Hospice, buying a minibus for a school for children with special needs in Middlesbrough and providing much-needed family holidays in its own caravan.
The Coopers were delighted to see fund trustees Mr Waites, Lee Bramley and Graham Fordy recognised for their hard work when they received Teesside Heroes awards from Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation last year.
“They give their time for nothing and we can’t possibly thank them enough for being the people they are and for the way they’ve supported us,” said Colin. “They wanted to help us create a legacy in Fin’s name and they’ve done that.”
The Dragonfly Ball takes place in the Grand Marquee at Wynyard Hall on Friday June 15 from 6.30pm to 1am and includes a drinks reception and live swinging 60s’ music from the Phat Tyrtles, plus an auction for money-can’t-buy items.
Tickets cost £80 (or £795 for a table of ten) and are available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.