Gala night raises £10,000 for Tony Hopper's motor neurone disease charity campaign

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A special gala dinner in Carlisle raised more than £10,000 for Tony Hopper's motor neurone disease charity campaign.

The Eat, Drink and Be Giving night at the Halston proved a huge success.

Organised by Carlisle-based SH Electrical UK Ltd, it contributed £10,576.26 to former footballer Tony's "fightback fund" for the MND Association.

That included £5,651 from an auction, £3,056.05 from a raffle, wristband sales and donations, and £1,869.19 from tickets.

Zoe Elston, office manager at SH Electrical, said: "It was absolutely brilliant. We had a really good night and the amount that was raised bust the target.

"It did everything we had hoped - raising money and awareness for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

"It was an opportunity to tell people what they do as well as putting on a really good night."

The evening, attended by Tony and his family as well as Eric and Freda Tiffin from the MND Association's north-west group, was a sell-out with 280 people.

Among the auction items snapped up was a two-night stay for up to 16 people at Hidden River House at Longtown.

That went for £2,000.

A range of other prizes were on offer in the auction, including a 43-inch Panasonic TV, a Sonos surround sound system, two tickets and a meal for Manchester United v Manchester City, a Carlisle United hospitality package, a night at the Belsfield Hotel, Windermere, a custom-fitted Titleist driver, golf lessons, a round and a meal at Brampton Golf Club and tickets for an Ed Sheeran concert.

A further mystery prize - a box of XL cheese crisps donated by Balchin's newsagents - attracted a successful bid of £250.

A host of raffle prizes were also won, including gift vouchers, beauty treatments, food hampers, bottles of whisky and champagne and golf, football and fitness prizes.

Zoe added: "So many people were very generous in donating prizes and we would like to thank them all."

The event also received promotional help from Grafix Signs and Liberty Workwear, while the Halston, Pioneer and James Fruit & Vegetables provided food.

Entertainment was offered by Amp & Dex and 3 River City while Ian Milburn was compere.

Tony Hopper's wife Sue said the family were "humbled" that such an event had been organised to boost their charity fundraising.

Sue said: "Zoe and Steven [Hewitt] from SH Electrical worked so hard to organise it.

"Not only was it about raising money and awareness, it was just a lovely evening.

"They did it out of the goodness of their hearts and we're very grateful.

"They could have chosen any charity but they chose ours and that is really humbling.

"Tony's family were there and it was lovely for all of us. It was also just another great memory."

Kathryn Sheldon, regional fundraiser at the MND Association, said: “Without amazing support like this the MND Association simply would not be able to provide its vital support services for local people living with MND and their families. It will make a real difference.”

The News & Star is backing the Hoppers' charity efforts with our Fighting Back for Tony campaign.

To donate to Tony's fightback fund visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Tony-Hopper

*For more pictures from the gala evening, see the November issue of Carlisle Living magazine, out Thursday, October 26.

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