Orsett Hall to the rescue as Banana Crumble continue their sterling work for the Cystic Fibrosis charity

Orsett Hall came to the rescue, helping Banana Crumble – a family-run Charity promoting good news and raising money for local causes – raise £5,400 in aid of The Southend Cystic Fibrosis Association.

Amanda Austin from the popular organisation took up the story; “We ran our very first Banana Crumb-Ball back in October 2019 and raised £4808.35,” she told the Yellow Advertiser.

“On the back of that success, we decided to run another event in September 2020 again at the Halfway House Grand Marquee in Brentwood. Everything was booked including a three-piece live band called Instaband.

“Then COVID happened, despite things slightly opening up last summer we were concerned that with the charity being for a lung condition Cystic Fibrosis and many of our attendees having family or friends with the condition so we had no choice but to cancel the event.”

Mrs Austin continued: “We rebooked everything for October 9, and everything was plain sailing and people were really looking forward to dressing up, going out and being able to party again.

“We had many meetings at the Halfway House and then out of the blue three and half weeks before our event I took a phone call from them saying that they were cancelling our event due to the building renovations they were carrying out would not be completed in time and they had no other option than to cancel.

“That was a horrible day as we knew how many people had bought dresses, suits, booked and paid for transport including a party from Scotland.”

However, the Thurrock-based venue, rebuilt in the same style and on the same footprint as the original building in 2009 following a devastating fire two years earlier, provided a perfect response: “A panicked few days then happened with frantic phone calls, negotiating,” Mrs Austin added.

“Orsett Hall, luckily for us, had had an event cancelled on that day so had a slot in their biggest room The Pavilion so perhaps it was meant to be.

“They were so accommodating. They even replicated the menu choices that we had agreed over a year previously to save us having to contact all 160 guests. Contacting everyone to let them know the venue had changed and of course this meant transport and accommodation logistics complications had to be resolved. It was definitely Orsett Hall to the rescue.

“Of course, the hall decorations were different in a marquee to in a hall and Debbie at Whitelace Events sorted everything for us making sure that the venue fully represented the Southend Cystic Fibrosis Associations’ (SCFA) colours and of course the yellow of Banana Crumb-Ball.

“The evening was a fantastic one and couldn’t have gone smoother. Welcome drinks were sponsored by RADM Consultancy. Matt Austin welcomed everyone as they sat down to a three-course dinner. Lisa Hyde from the SCFA then spoke about how the money raised helps local families and explained the difficulties that went with having Cystic Fibrosis. The next speaker was Sophie Holmes, an absolutely inspirational speaker who despite having Cystic Fibrosis is proving the medics wrong.

“Her family were told she was unlikely to reach her teens but she reached her milestone 30th birthday back in the summer and actually ran a marathon on the morning of the ball !! There were fundraising games, a raffle and an auction held over the evening. Photos were taken by Tim Stout.

“Instaband were fantastic and the dance floor was packed all evening. It was so lovely to see so many people dressed up and having fun and more importantly the whole event has raised £5,400 for The Southend Cystic Fibrosis Association.

Mrs Austin thanked everyone involved and who had attended the event, who donated raffle and auction prizes and just joined in with the fun: “We had such support from local businesses with prizes, it truly was a community event. A huge thank you must go to Matt Austin who hosted the whole event.”

Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]