When Sharon’s daughter was diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome at seven years old, her local Council recommended Family Fund. Eight years later, to show her appreciation, Sharon wanted to give something back.

“I don’t think it’s something we all talk about, to me it was quite personal. It was a very personal thing that Family Fund supported us, and I don’t think socially we really talk about that kind of support. So this was my way of giving gratitude back and what better way than to do something I was really interested in and passionate about.”

“I am from a farming background and have always been interested in social history. My grandma lived through the war and she wouldn’t talk about it much but she would give me books about it.” Sharon’s keen interest in 1940’s life got her thinking about social events throughout the war, and with the 100 year anniversary of the RAF and World War 1, 2018 was a perfect time to host a 1940’s themed event. “I was interested in how the war affected social change and farming. Dancing in the war years was a form of relief, provided a sense of community, people got together, and it was moral support. They only used to do it at tea time because of the black outs, so I thought why not do that and raise some money at the same time.”

Once it was decided that the event was going ahead, Sharon started asking others for a helping hand. “Being part of the church community, I asked first if my church would help me run it, there’s plenty of volunteers in there and everybody likes coming together, there was a great bunch of people there to help.”

Sharon approached local and national businesses for items for the raffle and food for the guests. Sticking with the 1940s theme Tesco even supplied Spam sandwiches! “I had about 15 big companies who supported me in various ways through raffle prizes or donating food. Lots of people in the church baked cakes for us as well.”

Organising the event took 6 months in total and it wasn’t always smooth sailing. “Even though there was lots of people willing to offer their services, there was lots of people coming back to me telling me they were on holiday or couldn’t come.”

“Instead of sit down and panic it was - sit down and think. 'Where can I get the help from?' It could have been quite easy to walk away from it then. That’s when I went to the local Air Cadets. They are the type of people who love doing things for the community and they jumped at the chance .”

Throughout the night the Tea Dance had 1940’s film clips playing on a projector, newspaper clippings from the 1940’s for people to read, a reprinted article documenting the Damnbusters raid, and old farming vehicles on display outside the church. "A member of the community even stepped forward and offered a signed picture of himself flying a Lancaster Bomber which sold for £75. He said if I do the event again he could get a better picture and he also offered to do a fly over!”

“I tried to cater for lots of different people, people who perhaps didn’t want to dance and just wanted to watch. It wasn’t all about the dancing it was about being together.” The Tea Dance was a big hit and all the guests and helpers had a great time. “Everybody was really relaxed, they all loved it and they were coming back to me at the end of the night saying they didn’t want it to finish.”

“My daughter really enjoyed it, she had been part of the planning as well, and wants me to do it again. Her condition means she needs to know what’s happening and where everything is, she’s not a very social person, and can find social situations very difficult so I was really happy about that.”

Sharon’s event went really well, all her guests enjoyed the night and got involved with both the dancing and the history. "I was buzzing for a good few days after, and not only that, but the fundraising total at the end!" Sharon raised an incredible £1,301 for Family Fund and even got an article in her local paper!

“With it being in the paper everyone is still talking about it and everyone has been asking me to do it again, though maybe not next year! I might do another one in 2020 so it might be a two year occasion.”

“Even though I say it was hard work I got a great deal out of it. I feel like I’ve got my confidence back, after having 10 or 11 years of constant fighting for support for my son and daughter.”

"My tip for anyone thinking about fundraising for Family Fund would be; go with your passion, go with what you want to do, and make a plan. Preparation and planning are key, then on the day everything will fit into place.”

If you have an idea and would like to fundraise for Family Fund email us at [email protected]