Sparks Time Machine

The Winter Ball in the past, present and future ...

We’ve delved into the Sparks archives to explore the Winter Balls of our past, present and future. Take a trip in our Sparks time machine and party with our favourite stars and supporters. 

Staying up late in 1998 

Sparks supporters partied hard in 1998, raising a record £105,000. HRH Princess Michael of Kent attended and had a dance with Vinnie Jones on this star-studded night at the Hilton, London. 

Partying like it’s 1999 

The last Sparks Ball of the 20th Century raised £80,000. An atmosphere of enchantment fell over the Hilton’s sumptuous ballroom as the incredible acrobats, Cirque Jewel, mesmerised the audience with breathtaking grace and skill. Games included indoor laser shooting and ski simulation. “More dancing lent a final swing to the evening and a glow to people’s cheeks as they tripped out into the cold to claim carriages home,” the Sparks Newsletter from 1999 tells us.

2004 – a roaring success 

The glittering gala evening broke records again in 2004, raising more than £210,000. This helped push Sparks’ annual fundraising total to more than £1 million NET for the first time in the charity’s history. Among the 700 guests were lots of familiar faces, including Claudia Winkleman, Angellica Bell, Martin Johnson CBE and Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE, with HRH Princess Michael of Kent hosting the evening.  

A sparkling 2014 

At the flagship event for 2014, an amazing £330,000 was raised. The sparkling evening was hosted by Adrian Chiles and Gabby Logan, with a performance from Simon Webbe (from Blue) and a talk from Sparks Ambassador, Zoe North. In 2016, Zoe went on to walk the London Marathon route for Sparks over a period of five days, raising an incredible total of £120,000, despite previously being told by doctors she would never be able to walk unassisted.  

Celebrating 25 years in 2016 

Held at London Roundhouse, Sparks celebrated its contribution to children’s health research as an independent charity for a quarter of a decade at 2016’s winter ball. The fundraising reached a grand total of £325,000, with Sir Matthew Pinsent, Sally Gunnell and Helen Skelton hosting the event. Along with a star performance from Una Healy (of The Saturdays), Sparks Awards were presented to volunteers who demonstrated outstanding dedication.  

Dancing queens in 2017

The night was hosted by the dynamic duo of Take Me Out’s Paddy McGuinness and The Circle’s Emma Willis. With a star-studded performance from chart-topping singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor, it was truly a night to remember.

Last Christmas... 2018 

The most recent Sparks Winter Ball raised more than £220,000 and was hosted by Gabby Logan and Kirsty Gallacher, with performances from Irish classical singer Margaret Keys, M People’s Heather Small and DJ Kate Lawler. Attendees heard from Zoeann Ward, the mum of Ryan who has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy: a life-limiting muscle-wasting condition with no cure.  

Back to... the future – 2019!  

The 2019 Sparks Ball will take place at London's Rosewood Hotel, complete with a Champagne reception, luxurious three-course meal and fine wines.  
Aiming to raise £300,000 to fast-track a new leukaemia treatment to clinical trial, this Winter Ball has the potential to bring better outcomes for children with rare and complex conditions.   
You can dance the night away in a ballroom full of stars and like-minded Sparks supporters for £450 per head. This includes access to exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime raffle and auction prizes.  
This year’s event is guaranteed to be an exciting one. You can be the first to know who’s hosting and performing at the next Winter Ball if you watch this space.  
To book your table, head to sparks.org.uk/events/winter-ball, or you can contact us on winter.ball@sparks.org.uk  or 020 3841 3096.  

5 Dec 2019
Sparks Winter Ball

The Sparks Winter Ball is our incredible flagship gala. Find out how you can attend!

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