"We had hoped against hope that we would be able to hold our annual ball and golf day this year, but the ongoing situation with Covid meant this simply wasnt possible."
A major children’s charity is hoping for help from on high as it looks to raise vital funds for the well-being and safety of Coventry and Warwickshire youngsters.
The Coventry and Warwickshire NSPCC Business Board is organising a ‘heli-drop’ of golf balls over Stoneleigh Deer Park’s golf course.
Everyone who buys a ticket will have the number on the ticket transferred to a golf ball which will then be released from a helicopter hovering over a green at the course.
The balls that land closest to – or even in – the hole will win a range of prizes with all funds going towards the NSPCC’s Boole House, which supports vulnerable young people in Coventry and Warwickshire.
The event has been held for 12 years but this year the board is hoping it will be bigger than before to replace funds which have been lost through events being cancelled due to the COVID pandemic.
In June, the NSPCC decided to push the date of its Annual Ball – which raised £100,000 last year - back to November due to the lockdown making it impossible to hold during the summer. And its annual golf day also had to be pushed back for similar reasons.
But with the increasing restrictions imposed by the Government through the autumn, both were eventually cancelled for 2020.
Hamilton Bland, who chairs the board’s events committee, has urged businesses to dig deeper than ever to help protect the region’s most vulnerable children.
He said: “We had hoped against hope that we would be able to hold our annual ball and golf day this year, but the ongoing situation with Covid meant this simply wasn’t possible.
“However, that does not mean we will be unable to raise money for Boole House and all the support it gives to the children there.
“I would urge businesses who would usually take part in our golf day or annual ball to consider donating that little bit extra this year.
“Although the heli-drop has raised plenty of money in previous years, we won’t have events such as the charity auction nor the ticket sales for the ball which add to the money raised each year.
“If businesses can afford to give a little bit more to sponsor golf balls on this year’s heli-drop, we will be extremely grateful. Boole House relies on donations, and pandemic or not, we are reliant on the goodwill of donors to allow it to continue to undertake its invaluable work.”
There are 10 prizes prizes up for grabs in the heli-drop, including a meal at the Michelin-starred restaurant The Cross at Kenilworth, a half-day sweet savoury and soufflé course at Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons, hospitality for four in Premier Lounge at a Wasps game, Tiffany candle holders, champagne, a free photoshoot, a £100 Aubrey Allen voucher and a signed photo montage from England cricketer Ben Stokes from his iconic 2019 Ashes match at Headingley.
Chris Thorp, Chair for the Board added: “Our fundraising efforts have taken a real knock this year because of the pandemic, but we can still raise money for Boole House through the heli-drop, which has always been a popular event.
“I’m confident the businesses that usually contribute to the ball and the golf day will show their generosity through sponsoring a ball for the heli-drop.”
Due to the pandemic, Boole House is currently operating with reduced staff but is still able to deliver nearly all of its services to the local community including the Turn the Page treatment programme supporting young people, InCtrl, a group work programme in schools preventing abuse online and Building Blocks for parents of children needing extra support.
Last year, the Board reached its target of raising £3 million for vulnerable young people in the area.
Caption (from left): Hamilton Bland and April Wickens (Organising committee NSPCC Business Board) and Captain Mark Cowley (Pilot)