Opinion: The pride of sheffield

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On Saturday evening my eyes were opened to one of Sheffield’s most inspirational organisations – The Children’s Hospital Charity.

My wife and I were invited to Ponds Forge International for their annual fundraising Winter Ball, courtesy of headline event sponsor Irwin Mitchell. Now I’m sure Sheffield’s 101-year-old law firm won’t mind me saying that they were not the star of the show – and nor would they want to be. That said, The Children’s Hospital Charity itself wasn’t the belle of the ball, either. Nor was the irrepressible compère for the evening Dan Walker, of the BBC’s Football Focus fame. Heck, if ‘the queen of Sheffield’ Jessica Ennis-Hill wasn’t even the stand-out attendee, then that should tell you all you need to know about the night. For me, there were more than 600 stars of the show, and I reckon each and every guest will have contributed to the total on the night – a whopping £107,000. From those who stood tall to donate £1,000 in one go, to those who spared all they could for the raffle and collection buckets – I was bowled over by the unbridled generosity from the people in that room. Of course we were all moved to do what we could to help with the exemplary work done by the hospital’s staff. Thanks to them, this city has a medical facility of international repute. I would personally like to congratulate and thank every single person for their part in reaching six figures. But I want to move away from the bigger picture, and from the headline numbers to leave you with this: the night began with a beautiful little girl. Lucy Hibbert, a 13-year-old Chesterfield girl enchanted the room with her eloquent account of her battle with a rare blood illness which means that since her diagnosis in 2010, she has been living in fear of her heart stopping. She bought a tear to many eyes, but perhaps more pertinently, Lucy bought home to a city just how vital it is that we all do our bit to support The Children’s Hospital Charity.