Three charities were given a massive boost at the weekend at an exhibition and auction organised by a South Lakes photographer.
Hundreds of people turned up for the event, 100-to-1, staged by Glynis Bland, at The Villa at Levens, an exhibition of photographs of people aged from one to 100, the auction and a raffle.
The money is still being counted but Glynis estimates that “thousands” were raised for Macmillan Cancer, Bay Search and Rescue, and Alder hey Children’s Hospital. “It’s beyond my wildest dreams,” she said.
Star guest at the gala event held in the hotel’s exotic Pavilion was Stanley Taylor from Grange over Sands, the baby whose story prompted Glynis to set up the project. She photographed him when new-born, and then before and after his treatment for a hole in his heart at Alder Hey Hospital.
“Stanley’s story touched my heart,” says Glynis. “I’d photographed him as a newborn baby, before he was diagnosed, and when I went back I wanted to do something practical to help.”
Her portfolio of portraits of people from all over the country culminated in a huge collage which was shown at the event, and the publication of a book of all the faces. There was also a special commemorative book made for Stanley and his family.
There was drama during the afternoon when members of the Bay Search and Rescue Team who had come along to talk about their work were called away to a rescue, when a walker was involved in an incident at Silverdale.
Visitors bid for almost 50 auction gifts and promises offered by local businesses, many of which went for more than their face value. They included dinners and teas at top hotels and restaurants, a food-smoking course, guided swims, a computer and an oven.
During the afternoon, visitors paid to spot the mystery “rogue” face among the portraits on the collage, which turned out to be the singer Gary Barlow.
Among the audience was Sue McDonald from Carlisle, a fundraising manager for MacMillan Cancer. She’s one of the portraits in the portfolio, along with her daughter Helen, her grand-daughter Nadine Rigg (10), and her grandsons Liam Cromar (12) and Joseph McDonald (3).
“When I heard that Glynis was looking for volunteers, and that Macmillan was one of the charities to benefit, I decided to join in – and took the family with me,” said Sue.
It was a poignant time for them. Less than a week after the photo session, Liam’s mum died from cancer, age 29. “It’s very close to our hearts,” said Sue. “At Macmillan we are a source of support, helping with all the things that people affected by cancer want and need. It’s not only patients who live with cancer, we also help carers, families and communities.”
Glynis said that she was overwhelmed by support from local businesses and by the response from those who turned up for the event.
“I’ve met some wonderful people and heard some amazing stories through this project. I’m so pleased that so many people turned up on the day to support our charities.”
There are still 20 copies left of the limited edition book, priced at £25, with all proceeds to charity. They can be found on http://www.glynisblandphotography.co.uk/shop/