This year, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Manchester proudly hosted our partnered charity, The Seashell Trust, for their Annual Ball for sponsors and trustees.
For 2018, they decided to choose a Strictly Come Dancing theme where each sponsor volunteered a dancer to undertake a 10-week training programme then perform on the night with their professional partner.
Eight brave volunteers battled it out for the glitterball trophy, facing a panel of professional dancing judges and a crowd of supportive faces, cheering them along in the name of a good cause.
The Seashell Trust is a local charity, based in Cheadle Hulme, which provides a "creative, happy and secure" environment for children and young adults with complex and severe learning disabilities which include little or no language abilities. With the expertise of specialist teachers, care staff, onsite therapy team, assistive technologists, swimming teachers and sports coaches, their students learn how to express themselves, engage with the world around them, become more independent and live safe, creative and fulfilling lives.
It is a charity which we support throughout the year at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Manchester and with the fantastic new dealership, located in Wilmslow, it made perfect sense to optimise our facilities and create our own ballroom, including thirty guest tables, a DJ booth, judging panel, bar with fully stocked fridges and of course, the dancefloor!
Guests arrived in the black tie dress code, with plenty of tuxedos, ball gowns and sparkles in sight. After a welcoming Prosecco reception, guests were free to peruse and take photo's with the selection of Rolls-Royce models whilst a string quartet set the ambience in the background.
Once seated, guests were treated to a goodie bag of luxury toiletries and beauty products from sponsors, along with a programme and complimentary drinks to accompany the three course meal which was served between performances.
KEY 103's Darren Proctor compered the evenings formalities then provided his DJ services once the disco began and attendees invaded the dancefloor, partying into the night to a mix of eighties classics and current chart hits.
The concept of the 'Strictly Seashell' dance competition provided great entertainment for the event, but also an exciting alternative approach to fundraising.
The evening mirrored the concept of the BBC favourite, 'Strictly Come Dancing' flawlessly, even having real-life Strictly star, Robin Windsor heading up the judges panel. Each performer wowed with their skills, then received a 1-10 score from each of the four judges, along with professional feedback and critiquing comments.
The couple topping the leaderboard took home the glitterball, although, just as on the show, the judges scores alone don't have the final say, and there was another prize up for grabs. Once all of the contestants had performed, the public vote opened to attendees who could use their mobile phones and text the name of their favourite contestant to be crowned the 'People's Champion', with the cost of the texts going to the charity.
Each contestant performed an iconic ballroom dancing routine including the Tango and Cha-Cha, with the journey of the dancer' training shown on a VT before each performance, including a short biography of each contestant, including how much experience they had beforehand.
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Manchester was represented by Aftersales Manager, Emily Hall who jested that her dancing history extended only to when "drunk in a bar". Paired with partner, Catherine, the duo pulled out all the stops as they Foxtrotted to Frank Sinatra's Fly Me to the Moon which was met with fantastic feedback from the judges and roars of applause from the audience.
Emily was praised for her success with the 'hardest' style of ballroom dancing, the Foxtrot, whilst both ladies, in matching black ensembles, were credited for their teamwork and dancing as a partnership.
Aside from the main entertainment, the aim of the fundraising event was to support the Seashell Trust and the fantastic work that they carry out through donations.
On the night, attendees could show their support through pledge cards and voting via text. However, there was also an on-going auction for top prizes such as signed football shirts, a golf day with Phil Jagielka, hospitality at Sales Sharks Rugby Club, behind the scenes at Key 103 and other unique experiences.
Along with these, Head Judge Robin Windsor spontaneously offered 1-to-1 dance tuition with himself, with fees going towards the charity.
Guests were reminded of the reason they were all there, as they heard from Heather Bailey, reading an open letter to her daughter Lizzie, who has been supported by the Seashell Trust throughout her life. Heather emotionally described how their lives have been changed by the Seashell Trust which was met by a standing ovation with tissues close to hand.
The Seashell Trust have help so many lives and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Manchester were proud to host an event for such a worthy cause, helping to raise a record breaking total, over £100,000!