• Durham OnAir

Absoloutely Fabulous return for Dragonfly ball


Over 200 guests descended on The Biscuit Factory to celebrate the return of The Dragonfly Ball and the uniquely striking and picture-perfect Newcastle venue provided the ultimate backdrop for an evening of fundraising to take flight.

The Dragonfly Ball was the 10th Annual Ball and the first large scale event organised by the Dragonfly Cancer Trustsince Covid-19 hit. The charity, which has been established for 15 years, works with families, hospitals, and hospices across the UK supporting palliative cancer patients from 0-25 years old.


The event this year followed a masked theme to reflect some of the essential support that the charity offers to young cancer patients across the country. The mask decorating kits are one of the most popular items in the activity boxes which are sent to children’s cancer wards and continue to have a huge impact on those receiving treatment.

The masks are used by Play Specialists to help prepare little ones for the radiotherapy mask they may have to wear as part of their treatment, as well as providing a fun escape from their surroundings. This year, at the Annual Ball eight very special masks designed by young people currently undergoing treatment on the cancer ward were auctioned off, alongside an exclusive masquerade mask decorated and signed by one of Britain's most popular actresses, and Absolutely Fabulous star Dame Joanna Lumley which saw £2k raised for the exclusively designed masks.

The focus of the Dragonfly Cancer Trust is on memory making and helping young patients to make each moment matter with their loved ones and this is done by providing Cash Gifts, keepsakes and creative therapy.

Jane Dennison, CEO, Dragonfly Cancer Trust said:

“When the country went into lockdown all our fundraising streams drastically halted, the number of applications from young cancer patients continued to grow, but the team managed to provide vital support through one of the toughest periods the charity ever faced.

The return of our Annual Ball is a key milestone, and an opportunity to raise vital funds for the charity. We are in awe of the generosity of raffle and auction prizes from Experience days, hotel breaks, concert tickets to meal vouchers. The funds raised from the Annual Ball are set to be a vital cash injection to support so many young cancer patients over the coming months.”

Over £25,000 was raised from the event which was hosted by local comedian and BBC presenter Steffan Peddie, alongside Miss Newcastle, Kirsty Wright.

Dragonfly Cancer Trust is distinct in its focus on emotional support and memory making, seeking to care for families as a whole as well as individual beneficiaries.

Sanjeev Vadhera, Chair of Trustees, Dragonfly Cancer Trust said:

“The applications we receive never fail to move us and motivate our drive to help as many young people as possible. When young patients and their families reach out to us it is predominantly when they are nearing end of life, the support we are able to give through cash gifts and making memories gives that young person one final bit of empowerment in their life to decide on their final wishes and make memories for their loved ones.

Requests can range from a meal out with family, a cinema trip or even one last weekend away with friends. The team were also able to just this month facilitate a gig visit and meeting with Ed Sheeran which was phenomenal, and to see the joy in the little girls face when she was told is just so heart-warming, these memories really matter so much to the young people and their loved ones.”

The event was attended by businesses across the region including Fundraise and Recycle Ltd who have been working alongside Dragonfly Cancer Trust fundraising and have raised pre and during the pandemic an astonishing £51,953. Sarah Kennedy from Fundraise and Recycle Ltd said:

“The Dragonfly Annual Ball was just amazing it really pulls on my heart strings! After seeing and hearing all the wonderful things dragonfly do makes us want to work harder and make more family’s wishes come true. We can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

While cancer is very rare in children and young people, there are around 3,755 patients under the age of 25 who are diagnosed with cancer each year in the UK. That’s 1,645 in children (aged 0-14 years) and 2,110 in teenagers and young adults (aged 15-24 years). Around 250 children will die from cancer this year, that’s more than 4 children a week.

The team at the Dragonfly Cancer Trust work collaboratively with every Young Person’s Oncology Unit throughout the country and collaborate with hospices across the UK, together providing the best possible support for young palliative patients in the UK.

If you know a child or young person with a palliative diagnosis who you think would benefit from the support you can register here: dragonflycancertrust.org/apply/ or if you’d like to get involved and support the charity contact: info@dragonflycancertrust.org or visit dragonflycancertrust.org