A charity ball is being organised to raise money for a fund set up to remember the bravery and kindness of a much-loved Llay teenager who died of a brain tumour.
Wrexham-based Hadlow Edwards Wealth Management Ltd is the main sponsor of the Rydell High Ball taking place at the Chester Racecourse pavilion on Saturday March 5 in aid of Nicola’s Fund.
The ball is organised every two years to raise money for the charity inspired by talented young performer Nicola who was a pupil of the prestigious Chester Hammond School thanks to her natural gifts for dance and drama.
Nicola was five days away from her 15th birthday when she passed away on April 20, 2005, following a long and determined fight against a brain tumour.
When Nicola knew she was dying, she set about ensuring her Christmas shopping for her cousins’ presents was left in order. She left a list for her Mum to find in her pyjama bag with details of the presents to be ordered and corresponding catalogue page numbers along with the money necessary to buy them all.
She had carried this out knowing as well that her Mum was not the biggest fan of a big festive shop and it would help her out after she was gone.
It was Nicola’s kind heart and thought for others which inspired her mum, Debbie, and dad, Steve, who works with Hadlow Edwards, to carry out their daughter’s wishes and set up a charity to ensure other children battling cancer could be treated to some fun and laughter via paid-for holidays.
Now a decade later, Nicola’s Fund is preparing for its latest event – a Grease musical inspired, black-tie extravaganza with a champagne reception, three-course meal, auction and entertainment which will be attended by the Hadlow Edwards team as part of their support of the event.
Medwyn Edwards, Hadlow Edwards Wealth Management Director, is a Patron of Nicola’s Fund, and said: “We do a lot for charity because we feel strongly, as a business, that we have a duty to put something back into the local community and Nicola’s Fund is very close to us.
“Steve and Debbie are our clients, have also professionally worked with us and are personal friends of mine. We are very keen to help them with the fantastic work they do to support other families going through the very worst of circumstances.
“They have been incredibly courageous in setting the charity up in the first place and I have a lot of admiration and respect for what they have achieved over the last 10 years.”
Medwyn added: “We have a strong business which works very closely with our clients on extremely personal matters. It is with this in mind that we feel very keen to put something back and support worthwhile causes like Nicola’s Fund.”
Nicola’s mum Debbie, 53, of Llay, said: “Having a main sponsor like Hadlow Edwards is important because they reflect what Nicola’s Fund is all about.
“They are incredibly benevolent, caring people and very charitable. It feels a bit like we are all part of a family and actually the atmosphere at the ball is like that too.
“People might not see one another for those two years but when we come together on that night, there is a lot of fun and laughter which Nicola would definitely approve of.”
The idea for the fund came to Nicola when she was enjoying a holiday in Florida the year before she died where she enjoyed swimming with dolphins.
She was concerned for her friends at Alder Hey who perhaps wouldn’t have the opportunity of a special holiday like hers, especially those who were too poorly to travel such a distance.
She discussed her ideas with her mum and dad and since setting up the charity, her parents and their supporters have paid for holidays at Center Parcs and the charity’s own Porthmadog caravan for close to 500 families.
The charity has now raised more than £500,000 and the ball will mark its 10th anniversary.
Describing his daughter, Steve, 57, who works with Hadlow Edwards, said: “Nicola was perfect – beautiful, courageous, funny and very wise beyond her years. She was very organised, determined and focused in all she did.”
His wife, Debbie, said: “She was like a lot of teenagers – fun-loving and mischievous – and an incredibly loving and kind child. She never gave us any trouble and was an A*-grade student throughout.
“Every night I would sit and we would talk to one another as she went off to sleep. I remember people telling me that I would create a rod for my own back doing that but I used to love that time together and I am so glad I can look back now and remember those very precious, close moments.”
For tickets for the Nicola’s Fund ball and/or to donate an auction prize contact Debbie via the Nicola’s Fund website www.nicolasfund.co.uk