The much-anticipated day finally arrived, October, 14, 2017. Plans that were set in motion months earlier were now in full gear. Not long into the day, things began to take shape; this was most evident in the dramatic transformation of the event hall, changing from a bare empty space to a lovely breath-taking room. The foyer was also completely transformed, uplifted with dark red carpet, lightings, and a big VIN/sponsor’s branded backdrop, in readiness for the red-carpet photo session and drink reception. At this stage, seeing months of planning come to fruition was satisfying; nevertheless, there was still a long day ahead.

Behind this elegance was a worthy cause, a charity fundraiser in the form of a paid Black-Tie event. This was VIN Club’s first paid fund-raising event as previous charity events were self-funded. It was also our 1st Black Tie charity Ball. It was in support of the Sickle Cell Society UK, a charity that supports and represents people with sickle cell disorder (a hereditary genetic disease) to improve their overall quality of life. Our aim was to create a broaden awareness of the blood disorder and also raise the much needed funds for the Sickle Cell Society. To our surprise, the event generated a lot of interest than anticipated, and all tickets were sold out beforehand.

At 4pm guests began to arrive at the Foyer for the drinks reception, men looked dapper while the ladies looked gorgeous. The party tone was set by the soft melodic music that oozed in the background as canapés and drinks were served. The foyer was buzzing in no time as people mingled, exchanged pleasantries, bought raffle/games tickets from the lovely VIN ladies and men, and had their picture taken on the red carpet.

Soon after, the event moved on to the main hall which was beautifully decorated. It was exquisitely wreathed in charming black and gold decor, complemented with white flowers and mood lightings. Guests were seated to their assigned tables. The stage was now set for the business end of the gathering. The MC kicked off proceedings by welcoming guests and dignitaries; the VIN club president, Mr Babatunde Falode gave the first speech. After him, the Sickle Cell Society CEO, Mr John James, followed. He gave a compressive, stimulating and engaging lecture about the disease. This was then followed by a question and answer session which guests duly participated. Also on the rostrum was Tola Dehinde, a sickle cell sufferer. She shared her experience of living with the blood disorder and also took questions. Overall, it was a very satisfying session as guests’ knowledge of the disease were broadened.

The gathering wasn’t only about lectures after all; there were also small matters of fund raising, dinner and dance! As guests sat, waiters moved in swiftly and covered the hall, placing a wide spread of food on each table for everyone to serve his or herself while seated. Dinner was served with red and white wine.

After dinner, it was time for games and raffle draw. Prizes such as TV, Bluetooth speakers, Kindle, makeup voucher, perfume sets and many more were won. A total of £8,800 was raised. This was realised from a combination of monies from JustGiving, net proceeds from ticket sales and takings from games/raffle draw. A cheque of the said amount (£8,800) was presented to the Sickle Cell Society representatives, CEO John James and Vice president Michele Salter. They were very happy and expressed their gratitude to the Club for this feat. Then, as the Social Secretary, I took to the podium and gave the vote of thanks on behalf of VIN Club, expressing our appreciation to both sponsors and guests for their partnership and generosity, and thereafter at 8:40pm (as we’ve obviously kept to time) declared the dance floor open. Dance, dance, dance! Let the party begin! The DJ’s music filled the hall as guests moved to the dance floor. The party was now in full swing.


Charles Olawunmi Awoyode