Fundraiser adds spice to social calendar

Forget Slumdog Millionaire – the ‘production’ on everyone’s lips in Cayman last Saturday was the Cystic Fibrosis Trust’s Bollywood Ball.

Tony Western and Carol Reynolds

Tony Western and Carol Reynolds
Photo: Elphina Magona

The colour and the drama of India’s film genre were the inspiration for this year’s well-planned event.

Now in its fourth year, the themed gala is undoubtedly the jewel in the crown of the Trust’s brace of fundraising events.

This year’s hotly anticipated ball attracted nearly 300 attendees and raised US$36,000, said organisers.

Attendees contacted gave glowing reviews. One happy guest was Anna Palmer, who has attended every ball since the event’s inception, said: ‘I think the Trust did a superb job and I enjoyed the ball immensely. It was obvious that they put in a lot of effort and attention to detail into raising money in for this worthy cause.’

Her opinions were backed up by a lot of positive feedback, gauging by post-event Facebook chatter.


Held in the extensive grounds of a private residence in Magellan Quay, the event was cleverly staged in a series of pavilion-style tents. Each one leading on to another, the tents were decked out with stunningly-coloured chaise lounges, lamps, cushions and curtains. The main areas housed bars, a space for the silent auction items and chill-out spots.

The main tent contained the live auction pieces, a good-sized dance floor and dozens of saffron-covered dinner tables.

Attendees enjoyed demonstrations of henna painting and Bollywood dancing while others watched Indian movies projected onto tent walls. Others later enjoyed a reviving foot massage courtesy of Focus Salon.

Dressed to impress

With women dressed in elaborately-embossed saris and members of both sexes wearing dazzlingly-hued salwaar kameezs, most attendees looked the part.

The majority of the women (and oddly some men) wore bindis on their foreheads. Henna tattoos were also worn by several of the ladies on their hands and backs.

While most played it safe, a couple of men really cut a dash by opting for the richly embroidered, statesman-like sherani (long coats) worn over trousers.

Live, silent auctions

The event began with a champagne reception, allowing guests to mingle, nibble on the Indian hors d’oeuvres and get their bearings. Most took the time to saunter over to the silent auction tent to view the items up for grabs. Auction lots included gemstone globes from Kirk Freeport, a Royal Blue Chantal serverware donated by Home & Office City, a reclaimed Indonesian boat trunk from Sticks & Stones; and a cricket bat signed by Sir Garfield Sobers.

Compeered by Andrew Bacon, the live auction had a good variety of offerings such as original art donated by David Bridgeman and Chris Mann; a two-carat oval cut peridot and diamond pendant set in white gold from Colombian Emeralds, a fully rigged kayak from Harbour House Marine, and a soccer shirt signed by Geoff Hurst.

Meal curries favour

Guests sat down to a nicely balanced meal of typically Indian dishes catered by Mis en Place. Our appetiser of rasam soup was followed by the chicken Biryani and lamb Rogan Josh entrée served with saffron rice and sag aloo. Dessert was burfi, a classic Indian cheesecake.

The Trust’s Event and Fundraising Manager, Pam Fowler, acknowledged the ‘enormous debt of gratitude’ the Trust owed to its many volunteers, auction donors and sponsors. ‘A lot of credit must be given to the continued generosity of everyone who has pitched in to make our balls so successful. I’d particularly like to thank our platinum sponsors Maples and Massive Rental and Equipment Ltd and our volunteers,’ she added.

Bollywood, Bangra beats

During the meal, Craig Urchyshyn of OneWorld served up authentic Bollywood and Dawali tunes. These were followed by Indian dinner music which was later interspersed with bone-crunching disco grooves, new school R ‘n’ B and standard party classics.

Foot sore but heart happy, attendees wended their way home when the ball ended at midnight.

Forget Slumdog Millionaire, the ‘production’ on everyone’s lips was the CI Cystic Fibrosis Trust’s Bollywood Ball.