President Helen and best buddy Vice President Ruth, were sat chatting about what fantastical things they could do in their years to promote Inner Wheel. The Masquerade Ball just seemed perfect. Once the idea was there, the club encouraged President Helen to make it a reality.
It was agreed that having a Ball Committee would give members with particular skills sets the chance to join in and wouldn’t put any additional pressures on the existing Club Committee.
The first meeting was held in October 2017 and consisted of a few ideally placed members. Chair was Vice President Ruth, whose role it was to ensure all parts of the plan came together at the right time, with the right people in the right place; a role she sometimes compared to ‘herding cats’. President Helen was to steer the Committee with her vision and drive. She was also the link with her chosen charity Autism East Midlands (AEM).
Our Committee consisted of Club members including our District Treasurer Elaine, who by day is a Community Fundraiser for the Nottinghamshire Hospice, and perfect for helping out with those corporate requests. Hilary, our very own architect and designer was a dream when it came to all things graphics and event details. Member of Council (MoC) for District 22 Gloria, was able to impart her Inner Wheel knowledge and experience to the young pups, keeping everyone well grounded. Anne, our Club Treasurer kept an eagle eye on the finances and took on the challenge of Paypal.
The Committee started out with three Christine’s, which was challenging at the first meeting. But Christine from AEM was due to retire and had only accompanied Jack, her replacement for the first meeting to hand over the reins. Jack would be our main AEM contact through Helen. Then Christine was our florist and well heeled reveller giving sound advice following years of events with the John Fretwell Centre. Finally, and by no means least, Christine, Helen’s mum; an absolute power house of support, love, wise words, ideas and our unofficial quality assessor to ensure her daughter’s dream came true.
Being honest, back in October the event felt so far away, nothing was of concern and it would all be sorted. A general brainstorm and throw of ideas to the table was held and by the end of several cups of tea, coffee, orange juice and wine, the outline of our Masquerade Ball was achieved. The next meeting was at the venue with Mark in November to run through the menu options, what would and would not work from our brainstorming session. Taking on board his advice everyone went away with tasks to resolve by the next meeting in January 2018.
The Committee only met every 6-8 weeks, but as the meetings were good, structured and conclusive everyone had A chance to share their opinions and air their views, which were discussed and agreed upon. Preparation and planning was present in abundance. There had already been a proviso for payment for over 100 tickets before the Ball was officially launched at the November District Meeting. Sadly, not all clubs were able to attend, despite the fun playing with masks before the meeting started. But this aside, by the time April came and went ticket sales were going well and strong.
In May, two weeks before the ball we met at MoC Gloria’s for a wrapping session. The whole ground floor was taken over with bundles, baskets, bubbles, gifts, bags and the Committee. Martin was banished from the house and sent off to Rotary for the evening. Another great example of fun and friendship as shrieks of laughter filled the room, the hearty smell of Pizza and the clink of an odd wine glass or two, made the evening fly by.
Last minute ticket requests came in, meaning that table plans needed to be jiggled around with, additional food orders made and dietary requirements addressed. Mark at the Fretwell Centre was not phased by any request and confirmed we had booked the right kind of DJ for our event. The ‘Still to do’ list from the previous meeting was checked and rechecked. The final week before the ball was a little busy let it be said.
On the day the sun could not have shone any brighter on the venue and the Committee who, with another member Fiona, set about transforming the hall at the Fretwell Centre in to something quite magical.
With a few hours to spare after the room had been dressed the Committee set to getting ready. Nails were painted, hair was coiffured and updo’s pinned, make over complete, the ball could begin.
As our guests entered the room, there were cries of wow and ooh, mixed with hello’s and some surprised cries of ‘I didn’t recognise you’ hoots of laughter as friends met and mingled. The masks were astonishing, some beautiful, some subtle and some jaw dropping. It’s not every day the bad boy from Terminator walks in to your room.
As predicted the Tombola Tower was a hit with everyone. Not only did it look stunning, the bubble themed items were virtually popping off the tower. Mostly donations from the Club members, these were wrapped and lovingly paired with each other to make smaller gifts of prosecco, chocolate and a glass or night in for one luxury as the Committee had christened them. Alongside these were some incredibly generous donations of boxed champagnes.
The lovely Katie Trinder from Radio Mansfield 103.2, was our Master of Ceremonies for the evening. She joined in with the Masquerade theme, as did her sister Lucy, who accompanied her. Kicking off the meal service at 7.30, Katie made sure we were on time throughout the night.
A wonderful meal was served fast, efficiently and with friendly staff. The room lights were dimmed and the pink glow from the wall lights gave the room a magical glow. Between courses raffle tickets were sold. The Club and local Companies had been incredibly generous with their donations. We were able to raffle off cases of Naked Wine, a weekend at Centre Parcs, a round of golf for four, hampers full of chocolate, perfumes, bottles and luxury foods.
With all that said, our main attraction for the night, was the band. Thanks to a wonderful, but shy benefactor we were able to hire a London Band through Design a Band. Six members of The Sway International Orchestra joined us for the evening. From the first note to the last the dance floor was packed. The range of music from the decades and the vocal quality of the lead singers was sensational. They came out into the audience and interacted, they adjusted the play list to quickly fit with the mood. We honestly could not have had a more perfect headline act for the evening.
But sadly, all good things come to an end, and as taxis arrived, people were being dragged from the dance floor as the supporting DJ kept playing floor filler after floor filler. There are no pictures of the after-show room. But you can imagine what 162 partying people looks like when it ends. The team at the Fretwell Centre were professional, slick and superb. By 9am when the Vice President returned to collect the bigger items, the room was almost set up for a wedding. Sadly, you couldn’t tell we had been there at all. All that was left was a memory, a buzzing feeling and an adrenaline high.
Warsop are very proud of how they worked together. They truly are working wonders in the community, for the community and confident they have left a lasting legacy.
Whilst this was a charity ball, the Club never miss a chance to promote the Association of Inner Wheel and all that it does. We are always thinking about new members and our succession planning. The Club Correspondent designed a business card size leaflet that was placed in front of every lady guest that wasn’t already a member. From the feedback that has been given the night was a success. Warsop has definitely put Inner Wheel on the local map and gone some way to help modernise the image and attract new members.
More pictures from the evening….
Save the Date: Friday, 24 May 2019. Mad Hatters in Wonderland. Themed Black Tie Ball.