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A night of fun and fundraising at 114th Annual Ball

Archbishop Mairead Mary

On 17 February 2018 the National Conference Centre, Birmingham, came alive as over 200 people gathered at the 114th Annual Ball to raise funds for Father Hudson’s Care.

Each year a committee of volunteers organises a night of fun and fundraising and donate the proceeds to Father Hudson’s Care’s projects. This year, they chose two projects to benefit – New Routes Fostering and St Vincent’s House independent living apartments.

The committee were pleased to be joined by His Grace the Archbishop of Birmingham, Father Hudson’s staff, volunteers and trustees, as well as many supporters. The event was compèred by Miss Birmingham, Niamh Conway, as part of her civic duties.

Archbishop Bernard welcomed guests and thanked them for continuing to support the charity’s work. Andrew Penny, manager of the Care team, and Joanne Walthew, Head of the Children and Families service, spoke about the difference the funding would make to the people they work with.


Niamh also welcomed special guests Michael and Fionnuala Feery, regular ball volunteers who were there celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary with their family. The golden couple were presented with a bouquet of delightful spring flowers.

Regular ball highlights were back including fundraising games, raffle and silent auction. The tombola was popular as always with guests competing to win a giant stuffed monkey. The eventual winner of the popular primate kindly gave it to Michael and Fionnuala’s grandson, bringing smiles all round.

 Thanks go to Mick and helpers for running the tombola, Jimmy Spencer and the Feerys for co-ordinating the behind-the-scenes work and everyone who donated prizes.

Jimmy, who has been attending the Ball since 1947 and has organised the tombola for 25 years, is a Father Hudson’s Old Boy who continues to support the charity that cared for him as a child. 


As well as being the Vice-Chair of the Committee, helping at the Ball, he undertakes other volunteering tasks and also keeps in touch with other men and women who lived in the former Father Hudson’s homes, letting them know what’s happening at Father Hudson’s Care.

The week before the Ball, he received a visit from fellow Old Boy and friend since childhood, Jim Delaney. Jim presented Jimmy with a large donation of prizes for the tombola and the two enjoyed a catch-up, sharing stories of their youth.

Local band The Marmites returned for the third year, getting guests dancing to a medley of hits. Nuneaton-based photographer Pez Anson also returned, capturing portrait shots in return for a donation. And volunteer Martyn Adams recorded the night through his reportage style photography.

The committee and Father Hudson’s Care are grateful to all who donated raffle and tombola prizes, and to everyone who helped out on the night, as well as those who came along. 


Guests certainly seemed to have fun in the knowledge they were supporting a good cause.

New Routes Fostering and St Vincent’s House will use the proceeds to make a difference to vulnerable children and young people and to adults with a range of care and support needs.

Youngsters unable to live with their birth families blossom and grow through the love, care and support offered by trained, experienced and dedicated foster carers, specially matched with them by New Routes Fostering.

As part of their service, New Routes Fostering seeks to provide additional support and opportunities to build the skills, confidence and resilience of looked-after children. Research shows that looked-after children generally do less well than their peers. Building on the work the Ball supported last year, they would now like to pilot a fortnightly youth club for children and young people who need access to opportunities to socialise in a supportive environment tailored to their needs. The New Routes Fostering youth club will run fortnightly for 12 months.

St Vincent’s House apartments are home to ten people who require additional support to live independently. There, adults with disabilities, sensory impairments or learning difficulties are seen first for the person they are, not for the disability they have or the wheelchair they may use. Inclusivity and accessibility are not just words at Father Hudson’s, they are a way of life. People find the care, understanding and support they need to live their lives on equal terms and to the full.

For many residents, their apartment at St Vincent’s House is the first home of their own. Father Hudson’s support workers help people with a range of daily tasks and to get involved in the community, go to voluntary or paid work and enjoy leisure and educational activities. St Vincent’s is in dire need of a communal space where people can get together to socialise with each other, their families and their friends. The Ball will support St Vincent’s to build a shared common room.

Can you help make next year’s event bigger and better?

The committee are looking for new members to help organise the Ball in the coming years. If you are interested in volunteering on the committee or if you can help advertise the event, sell tickets or get a group together to attend, the committee would like to hear from you. To find out more, contact Ginny Cullen on 01675 434015 or email


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