Charity ball in memory of tragic Harpenden toddler raises £21K

From left, Stephen Reader, with Dr Ron Daniels, the chief executive of the UK Sepsis Trust and Rebek

From left, Stephen Reader, with Dr Ron Daniels, the chief executive of the UK Sepsis Trust and Rebekah Lobb,Tyler Reader's step-mum. - Credit: Photo supplied

A night of remembrance, organised in the name of a toddler who tragically died last year, has raised more than £21,000 for charity.

Tyler's Playtime Ball raised over £20,000 for charity

Tyler's Playtime Ball raised over £20,000 for charity - Credit: Photo supplied

Donning their finest clothes, 185 people attended a black tie event - the first annual Tyler Reader Charity Ball - in a marquee within Luton Hoo’s private walled garden.

The fundraiser marked the anniversary of the death of 34-month-old Tyler Reader, who died on November 6, 2015 after developing Sepsis following a chest infection.

Tyler’s father, Stephen Reader, of Harpenden, and his stepmother, Rebekah Lobb, said the event was a “fine balance of sadness, hurt, joy and celebration as people honoured Tyler’s memory by raising an incredible amount”.

The beneficiaries of the ball are Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity (GOSHCC) and the UK Sepsis Trust.

Rebekah said: “We are completely overwhelmed by the response to the evening; it felt like such a fitting tribute to Tyler.

“He was such a special boy and brought so much joy to our lives that it has been important to us to focus our energy on trying to achieve something positive from such a tragedy.”

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Representatives of both charities also attended, with Luisa Stravino, senior fundraising executive for GOSHCC, saying that she was humbled by people’s generosity.

She said the funds would help pay for equipment for the hospital’s acute transport service, which moves critically ill children safely, to ensure everything is done to keep a child’s condition stable.

Luisa added: “Losing a child is heartbreaking and the bravery shown by Stephen and Rebekah is something which has blown us all away at the charity.

“We are so grateful for their kindness in the face of adversity and the support they are showing for so many other families. Some people leave a real mark on this world, and we are so pleased that Stephen and Rebekah have found a way to recognise Tyler’s mark through his ‘Brighter Future Fund’.”

The evening brought a close on the first year since Tyler’s passing, during which time the boy’s family and friends have raised over £40,000, and the focus has already shifted to the second annual charity ball.

If you would like to support next year’s event, for example through sponsorship, please contact Stephen: