Against the backdrop of the enchanting Hensol Castle, Woody’s Lodge held a dazzling veterans fundraiser Black Tie Ball with many Welsh community leaders in attendance and some serious talent as the entertainment. Held on October 20, it was sponsored and organised by Pinnacle Complete Office Solutions, a leading managed print & IT services and document management solutions company in Wales. The ball celebrated the success of our biggest fundraising event of the year, the Woody’s Lodge Battlefield Tours 2023 – our second charity cycle following our inaugural Cardiff to Paris Charity Cycle Ride.
Woody’s Lodge Battlefield Tours 2023
As the night rolled in, Woody’s Lodge veteran’s fundraiser Black Tie Ball came to life as 160 guests filled Hensol Castle. Each guest was treated to a welcome drink to whet their appetite for the exciting night ahead. At the heart of the ball was announcing the funds raised at Battlefield Tours 2023 held between 11 and 15 July 2023. The cycle saw professional and amateur cyclists take on the great outdoors, exploring the iconic French region of Normandy while paying homage to those who lost their lives in the Army, Navy, and Air Force during the D-Day Landings and the Battle of Normandy.
As guests arrived, they were seated by the Master of Ceremonies Mr Iwan Jones, and once everyone was comfortable, the event kicked off. Filling the venue with hauntingly beautiful voices was a spectacular performance by the local branch of the Military Wives Choir – and as guests enjoyed a dinner feast, live music from Leighton John filled the halls with upbeat classics. The ambiance was electric as delicious food, combined with incredible live music, had guests revelling in the energy. During the main course, Leighton got the crowd going, and they all raised their napkins while the music swirled around the room.
Peppered throughout the evening were words from key speakers who took to the stage to speak about veteran’s fundraising initiatives and how they assisted Welsh veterans this year while touching on big charity drives to expect in the upcoming months. Our speakers for the night included Clive Hamilton, Dr David Trotman, Mark Hodgkinson, and Richie Bartle, who is part of our stellar Ambassador team (more on this further below).
Raffle & live auction
At the ball, two major fundraising initiatives took centre stage: a raffle and a live auction, featuring an array of impressive prizes. The celebrity auctioneer for the evening was Jamie Breeze, whose charismatic presence added an extra layer of excitement to the proceedings. Attendees had the chance to win coveted items, such as 2 tickets to the Taylor Swift concert, a Wales Rugby shirt signed by Leigh Halfpenny, a Cardiff City Football shirt signed by the squad, limited edition bottles of spirits, and a sealed bid auction with numerous smaller prizes. Each participant had a sheet indicating their maximum bid, allowing for spirited competition and a lively atmosphere as bids were placed for the incredible selection of items on offer.
After a vibrant night of togetherness and celebrating the Welsh veteran community, it was announced that Woody’s Lodge Battlefield Tours 2023 raised a phenomenal amount above £85,000 or £85,728.81 to be exact! We still await confirmation of the gift aid, which will boost this total. Total raised from the Bike Ride, Golf Day, and the associated gala evening in October, is a whopping £103,222!
Meet our Ambassadors
Another big announcement at our Black Tie Ball was the creation of a new role in Woody’s Lodge called Ambassadors. The outstanding individuals in the veteran community that were chosen for the role – each having served as ride captains at the Battlefield Tours 2023 – include Richie Bartle, Gareth Passey, Gordon Barkley, Dai Mathias and Gina Allsop.
Our Ambassadors are well-versed in the fundraising world and celebrated for their incredible life achievements. They share a vested interest in promoting Woody’s Lodge and its mission, particularly in raising awareness of mental health issues. These dedicated individuals actively participate in events, lending their influential voices to discuss our work and ignite enthusiasm in others to join our fundraising initiatives. Their role is pivotal in extending our reach to new audiences, inspiring innovative fundraising endeavours, and expressing gratitude to our dedicated supporters.
Thank you for all the support
This grand event was a celebration of the tremendous work of all those who participated, including the riders and support on the ground, individuals who supported us from home through donations, and all those who attended the ball and helped us raise even more funds for our veterans.
Woody’s Lodge would like to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who made our biggest fundraising event of the year a resounding success. The unwavering unity towards our shared mission to make a difference is truly inspiring!
Looking for veteran support services in South, North, and West Wales? Our team at Woody’s Lodge is here to help. And don’t forget to stay updated with the latest events, news, and insider happenings by subscribing to our newsletter.