It was an evening of glitz, glamour and fun. It was an evening filled with gold, black and cream. The number 50 was everywhere. It was all for a worthy cause, to raise funds to repair the hearts of children. It was the 50th Annual Heart Ball.

Under the distinguished patronage of  His Excellency Sir Arthur Foulkes, Governor General and Lady Foulkes and The Right Honourable Perry G. Christie , M.P., Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Mrs. Christie, the Heart Ball Committee will host the 50th Annual Heart Ball. The theme for the event was, “Celebrating the Golden Anniversary of a Vision…Championing the Cause of Children!”.

The evening started with a prayer by Father Shabazz Turnquest. It was followed the singing of the national anthem by Mr. Alvardo Culmer. This was followed by a grateful welcome by Mrs. Portia Nottage, Heart Ball Committee Co-Chair. Mrs. Nottage. Mrs. Nottage  took the opportunity to welcome Ms. Paige Davis to the stage to share her story as a recent heart patient. As the junior spokesperson, Paige encouraged people to support The Heart Foundation and save the lives of other children.

Mr. R. E. Barnes, Chairman of the Sassoon Heart Foundation, “We were thrilled by the record attendance at 50th The Heart Ball. What a wonderful evening; we had great music and entertainment. Many people said they are looking forward to next year’s Annual Heart Ball. We are very grateful for this.

One of the highlights of the evening was the presentation of The Lady Sassoon Golden Heart Award. This year’s Lady Sassoon Golden Heart Award was presented to Shelagh Farrington- Pritchard for her work with children and the elderly in need of assistance. In presenting the Lady Sassoon Golden Heart Award to Mrs. Pritchard, R.E. Barnes, said that the Award was started as a way to recognize members of our community who give of themselves selflessly to help their fellow man. He noted that the nominations come from the public and it is the people’s award for recognition of work done to assist those in our community.
(article continues below gallery)

In Mrs. Pritchard’s acceptance speech, Mrs. Pritchard said, “It’s not about us…it is about helping those in need”. She expressed a heart for the youth of The Bahamas and service. She admitted that she learnt a lot about service and giving from her mother, who worked along with Lady Sassoon, many years age.  She went on to say, “The ability to shape a better tomorrow lies in our hands”.

Another exciting part of the evening was the meal and entertainment. A five course meal was served. There was live, toe-tapping, body rocking performances by The S-G Band (Soulful Groovers), The Royal Bahamas Police Force Dinner Band and The Royal Bahamas Defense Force Dance Band.  Rik Carey, performed a special piece drawing a crowd to the dance-floor.  Gary “Super” Johnson provided music to dance the night away.

There was a special poetry performance by members of the Spoken Word group called Chapter One; De’Angelo Whyms and Quitel Charlton. The Committee Member Award of the year was presented to Mrs. Zelia Bethell. She was recognized for her role as the Table Assignment Coordinator and Table Prize Co-ordinator.

One of the most exciting periods during the evening, for many, was the collection of prizes and gifts. Up for grabs were table prizes, raffle prizes, a Signature Raffle prize – a Cartier Timepiece, auction items, and artwork from The Salus Project. Additionally, each guest was treated to a special table favour. There were four types of table prizes: beer from The Bahamian brewery, a special gift, teas from Twining Teas and floral arrangements by Floral Arts.  The winner of the Signature Raffle was Mr. Ellis Storr.

The Grand Raffle prize winner for the in-house raffle was Mr. Michael Cartwright. He won a trip for two on Virgin Atlantic to London from Miami, two tickets to Miami on Bahamasair, “Junkanoo” by Clifford Fernander , a Bulova Watch and sunglasses donated by Colombian Emeralds, a Coronary Calcium Score by Bahamas Heart Centre, and a gift Basket from John Bull. The top auction item was a 4 day / 3 night stay at Sandals Emerald Bay, coupled with airfare on Sky Bahamas.

The second raffle prize went to Julie Kelham. She won a round trip ticket for two on British Airways to Grand Cayman, a 3 night stay at the Westin  Grand Cayman Seven Miles Beach Spa, a Coin of the Realm 18kt gold necklace, and 3 hours in the Jambulance, donated by Liquid Courage.

The third place prize went to Leslie Bingham. Leslie won: a round trip ticket for two to South Florida on Bahamasair, a BTC Samsung Galaxy Note 3, “Fishermen” painting by Anthony “Big Mo” Morley, a 3 night stay at Melia, dinner for two at Aqua, and a mulicoloured necklace set and connector by Evangeline Ford.

Other raffle prize winners were: Baronness Loredana Delama, Yvette Weech, Carla Seymour, Jamie Taylor, Portia Nottage, Frances Ledee, and Leroy Dames.

In the midst of all the glitz, glamour and fun, we must remember and recognize the cause. The Annual Heart Ball is the major fund raiser for The Heart Ball Committee, the fundraising arm of The Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation. The Foundation’s main goal is to help repair the hearts of children, who cannot ordinarily afford heart.  At present there are patients awaiting surgery, and more are expected throughout the year. Despite the fact that many of the parents are working, they simply cannot afford heart care for their children and turn to The Heart Foundation for help. The public’s help is needed. The Heart Foundation is a non-profit organization that relies heavily upon the generosity of others. To date the Heart Foundation has helped to repair the hearts of over 4,000 patients. The public’s support can help The Heart Foundation to continue repairing hearts of those most vulnerable, the children.

In the words of Heart Ball Committee’s PR Officer, “It was a great evening. The 50th Annual Heart Ball was well attended. We are truly grateful for the support shown to us by The Prime Minister of our country and his wife, The Governor General and his wife, our patrons, sponsors and donors.  We are grateful to Cable Bahamas our Diamond Platinum Sponsors, our platinum sponsors, past patients and their families and our media sponsors. Thank you all. This combined support has helped us to continue the work that was started years ago with a mere vision. Thank you. We hope to continue to champion the cause of children and encourage the public to help us as we seek to repair the hearts of children”.

The 50th Annual Heart Ball was proudly sponsored by: Cable Bahamas, John Bull , Virgin Atlantic, Burns House, The Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas, G & M Appliances, Floral Arts, The Salus Project, Barefoot Marketing, Going Places Travel, Bahamasair, Scotiabank, Pictet Bank, Royal Bank, Cavalier Construction, Insurance Company of The Bahamas, Grant Thornton, Atlantis, Commonwealth Bank, Atlantic Medical, Sigma Management, The Tribune, The Nassau Guardian, The Bahamas weekly, Bahamaislandsinfo, More 94 FM, Love 97, Island FM, JCN Network, and Star 106.5 FM.

For more information about the Heart Foundation or to make a donation, please call 327-0806.