On Friday 18th September Sixth Former Ela Hartley, hosted a Charity Indian Gala Night at the Infantry Officers Mess, Land Warfare Centre, Warminster, to raise funds for Julia’s House – a children’s hospice supporting terminally ill children in Wiltshire and Dorset. The evening catered for almost 100 guests and began with pre-dinner drinks, followed by a splendid Indian buffet and Bhangra and Bollywood dancing. Two fun and energetic groups, Bhangracise  and Mumtaz Dance Group  performed enthusiastically, providing much entertainment.  BBC Bristol journalist and reporter Sonia Mumtaz, whose dance company performed during the evening described Ela’s Gala night as “inspirational.”

Ela was initially inspired to raise funds for the charity when reading an article about Julia’s House in the Wiltshire Times. She had many ideas about how she could raise money such as a colour run or jail break, but after considering all the implications she decided to host a unique cultural event in the form of an Indian Gala Night.

Julia’s House is a children’s hospice that provides frequent respite care and support for life-limited children and their families. The charity is already providing community care in Wiltshire, with plans to build the first children’s hospice in Wiltshire in 2017. Julia’s House has raised £3.1 million towards the £3.5 million hospice target and support is now needed from the Wiltshire community to raise the remaining amount and also cover ongoing care costs. The Guest of Honour, Colonel James Denny MBE, Tidworth Garrison Commander and an Ambassador for Julia’s House, said about the event, “The buffet dinner, entertainment and overall atmosphere was perfect…on behalf of Julia’s House I would like to thank Ela for raising a fantastic sum. Without your support, the charity would not be able to achieve what it does.”  Colonel James also announced that Julia’s House had now purchased buildings for the hospice in Devizes.

Headmaster Mark Mortimer also congratulated Ela, “It was a super evening and a great advertisement for the EPQ qualification. In putting on the evening, Ela demonstrated admirable organisational skills and powers of persuasion, as well as self-confidence, initiative and service to others. She is an impressive young woman and a fine ambassador for the School. The food, the entertainment, the atmosphere and the company was so good that I even forgot that the evening clashed with the opening game of the Rugby World Cup; I can’t give it stronger praise than that!”

Ela enjoyed organising the evening and thanked everyone for their support, “I am honored that my event exceeded all expectations and raised an amazing amount of money for such a worthwhile cause. I'm so grateful for the generosity and support I received from everyone. The evening would not have been possible without the support and sponsorship from TBT Recruitment, Brides By Victoria and Corsham Field Gun.  In addition, generous and kind donations were made by all those that attended.”

Ela would like to thank the following local businesses for their raffle donations: Whitehall Garden Centre, Mason Arms, French Café, Mr McCraith, Roland John Hair Studio, Garston Veterinary Group (Julian Porter), The Agra, Phil Harris Driving Instructor, Center Parcs, The Bear in Devizes and Number 12 Hair Salon.