Splash out with Tom Daley for St Albans charity auction

The Atkins family: Paul, James, Caroline and Charlotte

The Atkins family: Paul, James, Caroline and Charlotte - Credit: Archant

Olympic medallist Tom Daley has dived into support a special charity event taking place in St Albans next month to raise money for The Hospice of St Francis.

Tom has thrown his support behind The Chocolate Ball by giving organisers a unique auction prize offering a group of six people the chance to spend the afternoon watching him train at Stratford’s Olympic Pool and enjoying some social time together afterwards.

The Chocolate Ball is the brainchild of Peter and Kath Barker, founders of Harpenden-based personalised chocolate business, The Chocolate Wrapper. The event on November 14 at The Ardmore House Hotel, St Albans, will be an indulgent evening of fine food, dancing, fund raising and of course chocolate!

Peter explained: “A dear friend of ours, Paul Atkins, passed away at the hospice in June at the age of 54 just six weeks after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, and we were so impressed with the level of care and support that he and his family received during those difficult days that we wanted to show our support for what is truly an important local charity.”

The Hospice of St Francis in Berkhamsted is the only hospice in the area with an in-patient unit providing free 24/7 care to people in St Albans and Harpenden living with a life-shortening illness and support for their families and carers.

A quarter of its patients come from St Albans and Harpenden and it relies on voluntary donations for 80 per cent of its £4.7m a year running costs.

Paul’s widow Caroline, from Harpenden Road, explained: “Losing Paul has been a huge shock. We all miss him so much but the care and support the hospice gave all of us was phenomenal. Everyone was so caring – it was like being looked after by family rather than people who don’t even know you.

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“The whole experience made all the difference to his final two weeks and we hope events like this will enable others to benefit from its care when they need it.”

Peter added: “We launched the idea when we were on holiday in August and I set myself the goal of having something sorted, booked and promoted by the time we returned home. Amazingly we managed to build and launch a website, book a venue, run a teaser campaign on Facebook and launch the event while we were away.”

While tickets for The Chocolate Ball are sold out, anyone can get involved in bidding on the charity auction lots, including the special date with Tom, by visiting the charity auction website at www.thechocolateball.org/charity-auction/