Sunday, 19 September 2021

‘Magical’ event in aid of hospice

A “MAGICAL” charity event on midsummer’s night raised more than £5,000.

A “MAGICAL” charity event on midsummer’s night raised more than £5,000.

Karen Hilton, 51, from Watlington, organised A Summer Delight in aid of the Sue Ryder hospice at Nettlebed.

Her partner Robin Samson spent his final weeks at the hospice before his death from lung cancer in July last year, aged 53.

More than 100 guests were treated to dancing, music, theatre, food and wine at the event at Bix Manor on Friday.

As they arrived, they were greeted by members of the Troublemaker Theatre Company performing as fairies and statues.

Once inside, they watched performances by Jahméne Douglas, who finished runner-up in last year’s X-Factor, and Adie Carlton, a singer from Watlington.

There was also an auction and two-course stand-up dinner with wine.

Ms Hilton, who set up Dying4Life to raise money for the charity, said: “When people arrived they were totally amazed and taken aback by these artists. It was so well orchestrated.

“Everyone had a fabulous time and they said the theatre company added the magical ingredient.

“The night was full of laughter and the music was great. No one wanted to go home at the end. It was just a ‘wow’ evening.”

Guests included friends of Ms Hilton and supporters of the charity, including Lord and Lady Macclesfield.

Ms Hilton said: “I know all sorts of people so it was a real mixed bag. There were people who had never been to this sort of event but had come to support me.”

Douglas not only performed free but also donated £1,000. Ms Hilton said: “That was fabulous considering he was already donating his time. He was lovely.”

The proceedings were filmed for a documentary about Sue Ryder and a number of guests were interviewed.

Ms Hilton, who hopes to organise more fund-raisers, said: “I’m on a bit of a high now because it was such a great success. It’s a great showcase for our next one.

“So many people volunteered and donated, it’s really humbling. I hope that somewhere along the line I might have helped in some small way to get people realising that the charity needs money to survive.”

Mr Samson’s children, Claire, 26, and Will, 24, told her their father would have been proud of her. “I’ve never done an event like this in my life so hearing from them that their dad would be over the moon was brilliant,” said Ms Hilton.

“It was an emotional moment for me. There were so many people around us and Claire had tears in her eyes and so did I.”

Ms Hilton, who works in a handbag shop in Wallingford, and Mr Samson had been together for 14 years.

He worked as a style arbiter and was about to start a new job in London when he was diagnosed with lung cancer. After three weeks at a hospital in Oxford, he was referred to Sue Ryder.

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