Gillingham Football Club made a big difference to little hearts earlier this month when it staged the Take Heart Mercy Mission Thunder Ball at Priestfield Stadium.
After the huge success of the club’s charity gala last season, the Take Heart team organised a glamorous James Bond themed evening complete with cocktails, casino games and a charity auction full of items and experiences money can’t buy.
Priestfield Stadium provided the perfect back drop for an outstanding night of fundraising with hundreds of guests gathering together to beat last year’s total, raising around an incredible £75,000.
In addition to the medical operation, the money raised will also make a huge difference to the Gills football development work in Sri Lanka.
During a recent trip, Gillingham FC’s community coaches delivered coaching sessions and facilitated football games for large local communities delivering football to over 1,200 children who had a week to remember, with hundreds of youngsters now proudly wearing their Gills shirts.
Chairman Paul Scally expressed his delight at how the evening went: “None of this work could be achieved without the help, support, friendship and sponsorship of our Take Heart Mercy Mission team, staff and supporters of the football club.
"To raise such a substantial amount in one evening demonstrates what a fantastic infrastructure we have built between the football club and the charity and what a powerful cause we’re supporting.
“I’d like to thank all the staff who give up and dedicate their time for free. Over the past three years I’ve seen the real difference these operations make to the lives of dozens of families - that without our help - would have different outcomes.
"The Take Heart Mercy Mission has now completed 184 heart surgical procedures on babies and children in Sri Lanka which is a fantastic effort, made possible with the help of a dedicated bunch of people.”
“The people in Sri Lanka look forward to us coming each year and now I’ve witnessed it first-hand, I realise quite how outstanding the work is that the charity is doing.
"Seeing the faces of the families who’ve had members undergo successful surgery tells its own story and after such a successful Thunder Ball, we look forward to going to Sri Lanka again next year, developing the charity and its work and achieving new goals.
"I’m really proud of all the staff who have made this possible - both the medical team and the football coaches – and I extend my personal thanks to them all."