Proudly perched on the crest of a hill, it is obvious why the Celtic Manor Resort has been chosen as the venue for the 2010 Ryder Cup and as the setting for the Weston Spirit annual ball. This ball has enabled the Wales-based charity, which raises money to help socially excluded 13 to 25-year-olds, to more than double its donations and supporters.
Weston Spirit communications manager, and organiser of the ball, Nicola Northway explains: "Last year was the charity's 15th anniversary so we hosted an inaugural ball for our supporters and contacts.
The idea was to raise the charity's profile among the Cardiff community and open it up to more of the corporate market. It worked really well and most of the guests asked us to put on another event."
After a six-month search, Northway came up with the Celtic Manor clubhouse after being impressed by its facilities. It also fitted the event's repeat theme and impressed the event sponsors – financial company The Matthews Partnership. "The Celtic Manor was one of the only places in Cardiff that could cope with the 255 guests for dinner," says Northway. Another key factor was to ensure as many local companies as possible were involved. "Last year we used suppliers from London, but this year we chose local companies to give them exposure at a high-profile event," she adds.
Guests were greeted by a red carpet as they entered the hallowed halls of the clubhouse, which led into a reception area housing a champagne fountain with tulip-encased ice arch and an ice vase made by Ice 2 Art. Flowers were provided by The Baytree Flowers of Cowbridge, while another fountain, this time providing delicious chocolate, was supplied by Chocolate Fountain Hire UK.
Guests then moved into the grand dining area to enjoy a four-course meal and auction. Entertainment was provided by the Young People's Jazz Band, made up of pupils from Cowbridge Comphrensive School, and John Oliver's Live Band. After dinner, guests could test their gambling skills on PSW Leisure's casino tables and enjoy No Fit State Circus's stiltwalkers.
"Overall, the charity ball proved to be a great success and already people have started asking about next year's event," says Northway.