FLASHES of crimson wafted into the sophisticated Mercedes-Benz World building as hundreds of guests turned up to help the pounds pour in at a charity dinner and auction in honour of a young boy who sadly passed away two years ago.
Matthias Barker’s proud parents, Rosie and Tony, raised a whopping £41,000, and funds are still rolling in, thanks to a fantastic and generous team of people who rallied round to make the evening as magical and success as it was.
Rosie said: “Both Tony and I are astounded at the amount raised. The evening was an incredible feeling. The generosity of people reiterates just how wonderful Matthias was. Our hosts were the actor George Asprey and iBid’s Lauren Bell, a fantastic team who made the evening slick, smooth and tremendous fun.”
After a Champagne reception, the 410 guests sat down to a three-course meal.
As well as silent and live auctions, there was a quiz personally recorded by TV’s This Morning presenters, Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield, before Kiss FM DJs Rickie and Melvin rocked the party out until 1am.
Eric Cantona’s football shirt went for £575, while Demian Brewster won a signed Paul Weller guitar and paraphernalia, which fetched a massive £3,400 in the exciting bidding race of the live auction.
Rosie and Tony (right), who have three other boys, Josiah, Jonas and Xavier, decided to throw the Red Thi Do to raise as much as possible in thanks to the charities who gave their courageous son Matthias (known as Thi or Thisey) a ‘perfect completion to his far too short a life’, after he had been diagnosed with a rare prostatic tumour.
Matthias’ all-time hero was England and Liverpool football captain Steven Gerrard, who made his dream come true when he visited him at Shooting Star CHASE Hospice during the final days before he died at the tender age of 10.
Hence the idea behind the Red Thi Do – a formal black tie dinner with a twist of red to raise funds for the football star’s foundation.
Red ties, dresses, waistcoats, cummerbunds, shoes, hankies, brooches, hairbands, handbags and even feather boas dominated the formal evening attire, while Thi’s dad Tony wore a red number ‘8’ – Gerrard’s shirt number – emblazoned on his suit jacket.
Rosie added: “There was a personal message from Steven Gerrard thanking us for the event and saying what an impact meeting Matthias had on him. We’d like to thank him and his PA Anna for allowing us to make a complete and perfect end for our brave boy.
“We hope the money for his foundation will benefit many other disadvantaged children, and they’ve said they would like to donate a portion of it to CHASE.
“The evening was outstanding but we couldn’t have made it so amazing without our support network. I’d like to thank Mercedes-Benz World, particularly event co-ordinator Deborah Hunt, Absolute Taste for their supreme catering, and Yes Events for making it so professional.
“We miss Matthias so much, but this event has allowed us to spread a bit more of his inspirational and brave character around.”
For pictures, visit photographer Darren Salanson’s website, click ‘Party Fun’ and search ‘Red Thi Do’ – 50 per cent of the sales proceeds will go to the charity coffers. Or donations can be made at www.matthiasalwaysandforever.co.uk