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World Cup Legend Sir Geoff scores at charity Masquerade Ball, Sandy Park, Exeter

PUBLISHED: 17:39 01 October 2010 | UPDATED: 17:55 20 February 2013

World Cup Legend Sir Geoff scores at charity Masquerade Ball, Sandy Park, Exeter

World Cup Legend Sir Geoff scores at charity Masquerade Ball, Sandy Park, Exeter

Sparks charity president Sir Geoff Hurst, MBE, the only man in history to score a World Cup Final hat trick, was Guest of Honour at the charity's first South West fundraising ball, supported by Snibor Ltd, the builder with a difference.

Sparks charity president Sir Geoff Hurst, MBE, the only man in history to score a World Cup Final hat trick, was Guest of Honour at the charitys first South West fundraising ball, supported by Snibor Ltd, the builder with a difference.

Sparks held its inaugural Masquerade Ball at Sandy Park on Saturday and it proved a resounding success.

Sir Geoff spoke movingly about a West Country-based Sparks research project that recently made a medical world first and also featured on BBC TWOs prestigious Horizon programme on Sept 27just two days after the Masquerade Ball.

The audience also heard from medical guest speaker, Dr James Tooley who has been part of Professor Marianne Thoresens Sparks-funded team at Bristol University and St Michaels Hospital.

The Horizon programme focused on Professor Thoresens groundbreaking work in baby cooling to prevent brain damage in infants who suffer oxygen deprivation at birth. It also featured the case of West Country baby, Riley Joyce, who made world medical history earlier this year when he survived without brain damage after being treated with a unique combination of rare xenon gas and cooling, thanks to a 800,000 research investment by Sparks. Riley had been born by emergency Caesarean section without a pulse and unable to breathe independently.

Sir Geoff, who has taken a close interest in the cooling project, told the hushed audience: One of the greatest thrills of my Sparks presidency has been meeting Baby Riley and his parents David and Sarah and meeting Professor Thoresen and her team. I hope the worldwide media coverage that followed his birth after the historic xenon and cooling intervention and now the Horizon documentary will help raise awareness of the type of vital research Sparks funds.

Without Sparks funding, such a fantastic success story simply wouldnt have happened.

Sparks, founded and supported by leading sportsmen and women, has evolved to become one of the few UK charities that seek to find treatments and cures for conditions that adversely affect pregnancy, babies and young children. Without charities like Sparks, and the dedication of their supporters, most of this vital research would never take place.

Hosted by Mike Borkowski, guests were greeted with a drinks reception followed by a delicious three course meal and lots of entertainment including auction, fundraising games, raffle, casino and live music from Thick As Thieves.

The Ball raised an amazing 8,500 for the charity.

Nicole Rolfe, Sparks South West Regional Fundraiser, said Saturdays ball, supported by Snibor Ltd, was a fantastic event. It was a pleasure to see everyone enjoy themselves whilst raising vital funds for Sparks.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our sponsors, supporters, committee, volunteers, donors and guests who made the night possible. The highlight for me was raising a staggering 5,000 in the auction, with the help of Nick Agg-Manning.

For more information about Sparks please call Nicole Rolfe on 01392 248 591 or email


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