So after months of hard work and preparation, Friday night saw the GM Bee Glitz & Glamour Ball take place at Emirates Old Trafford cricket ground. Over 600 people turned up at the event, organised by three Greater Manchester Police officers. Jed Sudworth, Sam Gaunt and Andy Bailey were part of the police’s major incident team that responded on the night of May 22nd 2017 and they were so moved by what they saw that they wanted to do more to help the injured people by raising money for the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund. It's fair to say Jed, Andy and Sam did an absolutely amazing job, and we shouldn't forget much of the organisation and planning was done in their own time given they all have extremely demanding 'day jobs'.
Rachel Riley was our host for the evening and did an amazing job, as well as looking stunning in a red dress to show her support for her beloved Manchester United. The opening act was 'The People's Tenor' and proud Mancunian Russell Watson - his carefully considered set included classical songs as well as more modern numbers such as Coldplay's 'Fix You'.
After this it was one act after another. Rowetta and Yvette Royle both got the crowd dancing before comedian Dave Spikey had the same crowd in tears of laughter. Probably the most poignant performance of the night came from Parrs Wood High School Harmony Choir.
The children of Parrs Wood had previously took centre-stage before an audience of millions, at Ariana Grande's One Love Manchester charity concert. Some of the young children in the choir were present at Grande's performance at the Manchester Arena last May, on the night that 22 people were killed and dozens more injured in a terrorist attack at the venue. They were absolutely amazing and their performance had the entire audience captivated.
There were also silent auctions, raffles and numerous other activities running throughout the night all with the sole intention of raising as much money as possible and whilst we don't know the final total just yet there seemed to be no shortage of donations and bids, no doubt helped by the free flowing drinks!
The Kitkase team were gobsmacked that 30 of the 100 limited edition Manchester Bee travel cases we donated were auctioned off and raised £200 each, or £6,000 in total. This is incredible and hopefully when combined with the other 70 cases will ensure our donation raised in excess of £10,000.
The team and our partners were genuinely speechless, but at the same time not totally surprised given how people have reacted to seeing our cases in the build up to the event. It was great seeing peoples excitement at securing one of the cases, or two in the case of former Lord Mayor of Manchester Carl Austin-Behan or should that be Carl Austin-Beehan :)
The night wasn't over just yet and another performance from Yvette followed by an absolute legend of the Manchester music scene and all-round top bloke Clint Boon on the decks, ensured the night finished in style.
Not only did everything go to plan and everyone had an amazing evening but the event reminded every single participant just why Manchester is such a fantastic City. Seeing so many people come together like this in order to support an amazing cause typifies the solidarity Manchester has displayed since last years tragedy.
A huge 'Thank You' from the team at Kitkase to Jed, Andy and Sam, but also everyone else who got involved in this amazing event - you should all be very, very proud.