Student party raises hotel roof – and over £5000

Five students challenged by Bournemouth’s Hotel of the Year to organise a masquerade ball couldn’t disguise their glee after the event raised £5439 for charity.

The Marsham Court Hotel – winner of this year’s *DCCI Business Engagement with Education award – challenged the Arts University Bournemouth (AUB) students to arrange every aspect of the Ball on February 18, from compiling the guest list and sending out the invitations, to sourcing reception drinks, music and even the room decorations – all with a budget of just £450.

The students were required to organise a public event as part of their degree in Creative Events Management and after learning of the hotel’s support for education, asked owner Rosie Wallace to be involved.

Rosie said: “The Ball was a massive success in every way. The students helped to sell tickets, they provided a fabulous night of entertainment with a band, an auction and a disco and they smashed their fundraising target of £2000 almost three times over. I’ve had people ringing me to say it was the best Ball they’ve been to in ages.”

The Marsham Court received the coveted Dorset Business Award Engagement with Education award from sponsor Voip Unlimited for helping youngsters of all backgrounds and abilities enter a career in hospitality.

The family-run hotel in Russell-Cotes Road works with local schools on the Hotel and Leisure Opportunities (HALO) scheme.

It also offers work experience and permanent jobs to the long term unemployed and is home to the innovative CHI (Classroom in the Heart of Industry) training school for young people with learning difficulties.

Arts University student Holly Norman, said: “We couldn’t have asked for a better business to work with on this project. Rosie and her whole team were amazing and we have all learned so much.”

Abi Tudge agreed: “The Ball exceeded all our expectations. People who had never met at the start of the night were on the dance floor together by the end of it and they were so generous. In addition to £10 from each of their tickets going to Cancer Research UK, they also bid for auction lots.

“Adrian Gunner from the South West Regional Assessment Centre pledged £800 so Rosie and her siblings would cook for him and his friends.

“While Joanne and Andrew Tomlin from Meridian Lifts donated an incredible £1000.

“We were absolutely bowled over by the end amount.”

A host of local companies also sponsored the event, including Tolchards which provided wine for the drinks reception, Huckleberry’s which donated masquerade cupcakes, the Ramada Encore which gave the cheese course, St Events which provided the room decorations and Balloon a Room which donated a balloon arch and clusters.

The AUB students will now give individual presentations and evaluations on the event to their course tutors.

The Marsham Court is a finalist in two categories in this week’s Bournemouth Tourism Awards – Best Large Hotel (which it currently holds) and Rosie Wallace is nominated in the Unsung Hero category.

Picture caption: WE HAD A BALL! – (from left) Rosie Wallace owner of the Marsham Court, AUB student Cécile Berbezy (reclining) The Marsham Court’s Karen Francis and James Dixon-Box and AUB students Abi Tudge, Holly Norman, Ben Ferris and Viktorija Bubelyte.