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Stars dig deep to raise more than £30,000 in children’s charity bash at Hilton Manchester

By Dominic Claeys-Jackson

Premier League managers Sir Alex Ferguson and Roberto Martinez were two of several stars who helped raise over £30,000 for life-threatened children at charity bash in Manchester.

Jacob’s Moonlight Ball – at Manchester’s Hilton Deansgate – aided JUMP, a Warrington charity which provides children with life-limiting conditions with professional photographic and video memory packages.

And with more than 230 in attendance, the bumper sum raised will enable the volunteer-driven charity to recruit and train a small workforce.

Kate McCarthy, JUMP patron, said that the success of the evening ‘meant everything’ to her.

She said: “To have so many people support us in so many ways is just unexpected, wonderful and overwhelming.

“It’s just been an amazing, amazing night and we couldn’t have asked for anything more.

“We really need to employ people as memory co-ordinators, to enable us to create more memories. People will now know more about us and supporting us.”

The ball kicked off with a champagne reception, before a sumptuous three-course meal prepared by Hilton head chef David Gale and his team.

Throughout the evening, guests were treated to musical entertainment provided by Legally Blonde star Carley Stenson, and soulful Manchester singer Alexander Stewart.

With fun games and cash prizes up for grabs during the six-hour ball, the bash ended in a disco, prompting scores to hit the dancefloor.

X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent warm-up artiste Ian Royce compeered the evening, and told MM that he couldn’t turn down the chance to support JUMP.

He said: “It is an amazing charity, I was approached by the organisers and I really couldn’t say no.

“It’s been a fantastic evening – we’ve raised a lot of money for a new charity which gives something different to families and children suffering terribly, and it’s a privilege to be part of it.”

Silent and live auctions took place, and saw punters snap up an array of kindly-donated items, ranging from signed football jerseys to London shopping trips.

With several heavily-contested bidding wars, a particularly charged duel bumped tickets to next year’s Professional Footballers Association (PFA) awards to in excess of £3,000.

Yet this was only one of dozens of prizes available, with many fetching well over £1,000.

The PFA headline sponsored the evening, and Chief Executive Gordon Taylor told MM of his pride at being able to support such an event.

“It’s a brilliant cause,” he said. “I think it is an excellent charity and the people involved in it are great.”

Taylor also paid special tribute to Sir Alex, who attended the bash despite personal problems.

“Sir Alex has had such a busy week; he’s come down especially from Scotland where there is a family illness, to honour a commitment to me.

“Nobody appreciates Sir Alex Ferguson. We all know he is the best football manager in the world.

“But the amount of work, time and effort that he puts into charities like this is incredible and I can’t speak highly enough of him.”

Manchester City legends Paul Lake and Mike Summerbee were also at the bash, as well as several Hollyoaks stars – including Danny Mac and Nick Pickard.

Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez was also at the event and had special words to say about the charity.

He told MM: “Tonight was really emotional, because it is a very important cause and the JUMP charity brings happiness to many, many families.

“It was great to be here and see so many people supporting the event and I think it is something that we should do more often.”

JUMP was inspired by the tragic death of Jacob Hawthorn, who passed away aged three after suffering from Congenital Muscular Dystrophy.

Following his passing, Jacob’s family found huge comfort in the memories they had created through photography and video and as such, JUMP was founded in 2004.

JUMP Chairperson Christine Bentham, Jacob’s grandmother, told of how overwhelmed she was by the support for the ‘brilliant evening’.

“I’m very proud that the belief in what we do is now touching other people,” she said.

“For me, that means that we are going to be able to grow as a charity and we’re going to be able to offer our unique service to more children who have life-threatening illnesses.

“The next step for JUMP now will hopefully be to expand more throughout the North West and to be able to help more children and more families.”

One family in attendance who have continuously been affected by the charity spoke of how much the evening touched them personally.

Sam Copeland, 43, from Crewe, told MM earlier this month of her daughter Beth, 7, who was born with spina bifida, leaving her in a wheelchair for life.

JUMP has continuously helped her family treasure memories – professionally shooting a video of Beth as bridesmaid at sister Laura’s wedding.

In one of the evening’s more poignant and upsetting moments, a video montage highlighting JUMP’s work was played on the big screens.

Beth featured in the touching video, which brought many guests in the room to tears.

Sam and Beth both told MM of how much they enjoyed their evening.

Mrs Copeland said: “It means a lot to me and my family. Being able to be part of a terrific event to raise a lot of money for a wonderful charity is fantastic.

“It has been an absolutely brilliant night.”

Beth, meanwhile, said: “My favourite part of the night was the dancing, because when I dance I can do the Macarena and party!”

Picture courtesy of kc-imaging

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