Supported with the talent of a skilled Sussex based singer and performer, Alex Banks, the patience of his wife Maxine, and intensive training and rehearsals organised by the E3 Events experts https://www.e3eventsonline.com/ Steve prepared for the nerve-wracking performance. Never one to do anything by halves the famous, challenging Moulin Rouge lyrics of ‘Lady Marmalade’ was selected by Steve and Alex. Voulez Vous Coucher Avec!
With more than 600 guests the Midsummer Ball is created by the DM Thomas Foundation for Young People https://dmthomasfoundation.org/ with the Brighton Hilton Metropole. An annual event with all the NET fundraising divided between four important local charities who work to help disadvantaged, complex disabled or life-limited children and youngsters: Chailey Heritage https://www.chf.org.uk/ Chestnut Tree House https://www.chestnut-tree-house.org.uk/ Action Medical Research https://action.org.uk/ and The Starr Trust http://starrtrust.com/.
Each year a theme is set, and each of the charities ‘persuades’ business people to represent them by entertaining the guests with a full stage performance. Steve and Alex were performing for The Starr Trust. In many ways, this was a tough choice as Gemini Print works with all four charities. However, Steve has a great deal of respect for what Rob Starr and the very small family run Hove-based charity achieves. During the last ten years, the team has helped more than 4000 disadvantaged youngsters throughout the BN region to fulfil their potential in arts, sports and education. When you talk to the youngsters themselves, it is impossible to leave them without being impressed and inspired!
The 2019 Midsummer Ball theme was ‘Le Cabaret de Paris’ inviting the opportunity for burlesque, red lights, can-can and full husky drama! It came as a bit of a shock to Steve to be wearing stockings and high heels when he is more used to muddy rugby boots!
People ‘vote’ for their favourite charity and performance so that one act can win the coveted trophy! The voting is a combination of scores from the pre-online sponsorship and fundraising, the scores by the expert judging panel plus the ‘£’s means points’ voting by the Ball guests.
Steve and Alex were the final act of the evening. Very scary, as the previous acts and professional entertainers had all been superb. Whether it was the ‘elegant moves’ of Steve or the fact that the audience was singing along through their howls of laughter, the judges and the votes by the guests at the Ball awarded Steve first place for The Starr Trust. The trophy will be a unique addition to a display of business awards for customer service, manufacturing, environmental management and industry awards!
Steve said “Gemini Print supports several charities and community organisations across the UK. Typically the teams help discreetly by advising and producing creative print, mailing and promotions solutions to help with fundraising success. I am known by my colleagues for my motto ‘dare to be different.’ It caught me out this time as The Starr Trust challenged my competitive spirit to get involved in a very different way.
At a time when there are so many demands on peoples cash, I would like to say a huge thank you to how people embraced what we were trying to achieve. Friends, colleagues, clients and suppliers were fantastic!
They sponsored and donated to play a vital role in the fundraising. Maybe it was the threat of seeing the video and photographs that inspired them! At this stage, we understand from the DM Thomas Foundation that £77k will be shared between the four charities – but hopefully, this will grow when all the pledges are paid.
The donations link is still running – if anyone can help The Starr Trust would be very appreciative”.
Rob Starr, Chairman & Founder of The Starr Trust, said “We were thrilled when the amazing Steve Cropper from Gemini Print teamed up with Alex Banks and courageously took to the stage to perform at the Brighton Hilton Hotels Mid Summer Ball in aid of our charity, the Starr Trust. Because of the generosity of so many people in supporting Steve and Alex, we have managed to raise over £22,000 for the Starr Trust at this event.
As we do no use any fundraising for our running costs it means all of this will be given away in scholarships to young people – that is a lot of money to be able to give away. Steve was so brave as this was definitely out of his comfort zone, but in his usual fashion, he did everything he could do to support us, even if it meant putting on a dress and high heels! Gemini Print already do so much for the Starr Trust as they provide all our printing throughout the year and this enables us to put all our resources into directly helping Young People throughout the Greater Brighton area.
The Starr Trust is now in its 11th year and so far has supported over 4200 young people by providing financial grants and mentoring support to help them be the best that they can be in Sport, Art & Education. With the help of people like Steve Cropper and companies like Gemini Print, we can continue to create new Starrs every month. www.starrtrust.org
Gemini you are the best, and Steve Cropper you truly are a LEGEND.”