GEM Appeal Ball raises a further £45,000 for children’s hospital equipment

Date published: 28 November 2019

The GEM Appeal charity, founded by Karen Johnson from Bamford, had a magical ending to its fundraising year on Saturday 16 November.

Described by Karen as the charity’s ‘biggest fundraiser of the year’, a themed winter ball is hosted by GEM Appeal's patron, Denise Welch, annually to raise funds for the Rochdale charity.

This was the 19th ball Mrs Welch has hosted for the GEM Appeal, held this year at The Principal Hotel Manchester with a Magic Castle theme.


GEM Appeal winter ball


With a dazzling array of celebrities and guests, compere was Kate Thornton, and all were entertained by magicians Andrew Green, Goodman Green Magic, Mandy Muden and quick-change artist Solange Kardinaly, who performed their acts to complement the magic theme.

Entertainment by vocalists Wayne Devlin and Yvette Royle was also provided, as well as a spectacular dinner show extravaganza by Music Hall Tavern.

A fantastic £45,000 was raised through the night’s raffle and auction, with auctioneer Christopher Biggins, assisted by Scott Wright. The total was boosted by football shirts donated to the GEM Appeal by Manchester United and Manchester City.

There were many fundraising pledges made on the night, which will be undertaken over the next twelve months.


Celebrities and guests enjoyed the GEM Appeal winter ball
Celebrities and guests enjoyed the GEM Appeal winter ball


Celebrities and guests enjoyed the GEM Appeal winter ball
Celebrities and guests enjoyed the GEM Appeal winter ball


Wendy Mills, one of 11 GEM Appeal trustees, said: “Denise always puts her heart and soul into the ball, encouraging many of her celebrity friends to support and attend the event.

“Thanks must go to the team at Entertainment Today who organised the magical event this year for 500 guests.

“Every year, Brown's Cakes of Rochdale create a cake in the theme of the event for auction. This is always eagerly anticipated, and this year's cake was a true masterpiece.

"You really pulled this one out of the hat, Natasha."


Magic themed cake by Natasha Brown of Browns Cakes
Every year, Brown's Cakes create a cake in the theme of the ball for auction


Founder Karen Johnson said: “We are truly grateful for the support we get from all Rochdale people and local businesses. J Freight, Rochdale supported and attended the event again and we also had a raffle prize donated by Tetrosyl.

“Rochdale is where it all began. We value and need Rochdale's continued support.”


Founder of the GEM Appeal Karen Johnson (centre)
Founder of the GEM Appeal Karen Johnson (centre)


All money raised by the GEM Appeal over their 25 years of operation has gone, and is still going, towards purchasing diagnostic equipment to enable the doctors and scientists at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Willink Unit to research, diagnose and treat children and young people with rare genetic and metabolic disorders, which were previously incurable.

Because of the money raised by the charity, children are now living longer healthier lives and the future is more positive for those diagnosed.

All money raised at the winter ball will go towards the charity’s current appeal to purchase a £175,000 Tecan machine for Manchester Children's Hospital. Over £82,000 has already been raised for the piece of equipment, which will prepare and arrange blood samples for DNA analysis, enabling the specialist staff at the Willink Unit to concentrate on more complex tasks.

The charity’s fundraising finale for 2019 will be a Festive Afternoon Tea hosted at the Broadfield Hotel on Saturday (30 November).

Tickets are £15 and must be bought in advance:

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