On 27th October 2017, our dad Charlie Dyer passed away following a very short 10-day battle with Burkitt’s lymphoma. Myself, my brother Oliver, our mum Annette and my brother’s partner Charlene wanted to honour Dad’s one-year anniversary with a dinner dance with all of our friends and family to celebrate his life, but also to help raise money for Leukaemia Care.
The event was called The Charlie Dyer Memorial Dinner Dance and was held on Saturday 3rd November at The Lion Inn in Boreham, which was our Dad’s favourite restaurant. There were 160 guests in attendance.
To prepare, we started by sending out save the date’s to friends, family and business contacts of our Dad. Very quickly we were able to fill the 160 seats. We then booked a local band called Junior Jump and the Bottom Line. They are a 12-piece band who do a number of covers, including Motown hits, and they performed at a discounted rate for us. We then approached local businesses about providing raffle prizes for the evening and other contacts about providing us bigger prizes that we would be able to auction off.
The evening had an Everton theme (our dad was a massive fan) so we had an Everton themed table plan with his favourite players past and present as table names and Everton mints as place settings. I spoke with Claire at Leukaemia Care about someone from the charity coming to give a quick talk about what the charity does and where the money raised will be used. She put me in contact with a lovely lady called Julie Lewin who gave a great talk on the evening.
We sold tickets for the evening which included a three-course meal, half a bottle of wine and a welcome drink. During the dinner we played a game of Kings and Queens to raise some additional money, and we also held a raffle and an auction on the night. We approached a number of local businesses for raffle prizes. They were so generous, and we ended up giving away over 30 raffle prizes.
For the auction, we were able to source a number of great prizes, including meals in London, tickets in a box at the O2, boxing tickets, cricket tickets and signed football shirts from West Ham, Liverpool and Arsenal. There were a number of Dad’s friends who were unable to make it on the evening who also donated money.
On the day itself we were all very nervous and anxious about how the evening would go. We went up to the venue on the morning to help set up, and when we saw the room with all the tables and chairs laid out, it was quite overwhelming to think that we were going to have to stand up in front of all of these people. Our mum really wanted to give a speech and stand up and thank everyone for their support over the last year, and she wanted myself and Oliver to stand with her, so we were all nervous about the prospect of that. She did so well on the evening, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
The evening itself went by in a flash. We had a lot of running around to do as we wanted to greet all of the guests, and then during dinner we were selling raffle tickets and getting everything in place for the auction. Luckily, we had an amazing MC for the evening (Dave Dennison, an old friend of Dad’s) so that meant that the raffle and auction ran really smoothly. We couldn’t believe how much money the auction raised (almost £10,000).
Once the meal and raffle and auction were out of the way, we could let our hair down and dance and catch up with all of our friends. It was a lot of hard work and took months of preparation, but we wouldn’t change that for the world. We ended the night on a high knowing that we had raised over £17,000 for a charity that is now really close to our hearts. Plus, so many people were coming up to us saying how great the evening had been and what a fitting tribute it was to Dad, so all the hard work was worth it to hear that. Our dad was the life and soul of the party, so what better way to remember him a year on than with a party.
The total amount raised on the evening was £17,138.94. We were completely overwhelmed by the amount and couldn’t quite believe it. Our target was £10,000, so we went above and beyond what we wanted to raise. We were so proud when Claire told us that this is the most anyone has ever raised for the charity with a single event.
Because of that, we would love to make it a yearly event. We appreciate that we wouldn’t necessarily be able to host a dinner dance every year but would like to do an event of some kind each year to help remember Dad, but also to raise money for Leukaemia Care. So many people on the night kept asking us if we will do it again next year, so that must be a good sign.