18/07/2018 - Published by

Leeds Charity Ball – In aid of the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Peace Foundation

On Monday 22nd May, at around 10.31pm, a suicide bomber entered the Manchester Arena foyer and shortly afterwards, detonated his home made bomb. Salman Abedi killed 22 people that evening and injured hundreds more.

Vickie Sharpe had attended the concert that evening and as Ariana finished her final set, Vickie exited the arena through the foyer, walking past the bomber seconds before he detonated. Vickie left the arena that night physically uninjured but had witnessed the bomb exploding as well as the injuries inflicted on many, and worse.

In the weeks that followed Vickie tried to seek help from the services she assumed would help her but to much disappointment. Waiting lists were offered and Vickie was disregarded as a victim of this atrocious act of hate. Fortunately, Vickie was put in touch with the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Peace Foundation’s victims programme, Survivors Assistance Network where she was offered free, emotional and practical advice to overcome the unimaginable when it happened to her. Survivors Assistance Network is a service that helps anybody who has been affected by terrorism or violent conflict to cope and recover, and how to become exactly that, a survivor. Vickie has often said that without SAN she would not of come as far as she has in such a short amount of time.

Vickie wanted to keep herself busy and by doing so, wanted to give something back to those who helped her. Kate Deakin, the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Peace Foundation’s Relationship Manager said, “I first was introduced to Vickie in the July after the arena attack. I knew she was determined but I soon realised she was a force to be reckoned with and that this act was not going to define her. Vickie told me she wanted to organise a Charity Ball on our behalf, as a thank you for the help she received from SAN. I was amazed at just how adamant Vickie was at making this event a huge success and she just wanted to raise as much money for us as possible. The resilience she showed was just remarkable and that is what one of our many aims is as a charity, to build resilience in people. Of course their were moments where Vickie doubted strength within herself but what I found so admirable was how she just kept on going”

The Ball was held on Friday 3rd November 2017 and was attended by both our Chairman and Co-Founder Colin Parry & our Co-founder and Events Manager, Wendy Parry. Vickie’s event raised over £6000 and has helped many people who have been affected by similar circumstances.

In January this year, Vickie was contacted by both Wendy & Colin Parry, inviting Vickie to join the Peace Foundation as a Patron after they were so impressed by how Vickie had coped in the weeks and month after the terrorist incident she had been affected by. Wendy Parry said “I knew after the Ball that I wanted Vickie to become part of the Peace Foundation as a valued Patron. Both myself and Colin were so impressed with the resilience and strength that Vickie had shown not just with organising the Ball on our behalf, but how she approached day to day life after the incident. It was wonderful to see that even though she had been through something so terrible, she still wanted to help others in a similar situation. We were delighted when Vickie accepted this very important role and we know she will be a great asset to our Charity”.

Survivors Assistance Network are currently supporting over 800 individuals from the Manchester Arena attack and London attacks that occurred in 2017. We are also supporting victims from more historical incidents such as the Parisian attacks, the Tunisian beach attack and also victims from the London 7/7 attack.

Vickie said about SAN “After such an experience it is hard to find your way back to the world and how to interact with it again. The Peace Foundation helped me to engage with the world again and it is a service that is there and ready for you to use when you are ready to make the step. They have people at every stage to help you and I cannot thank them enough.”

If you have been inspired by Vickie’s story and want to learn more about how you can help the Peace Foundation to continue its work, please contact Wendy Parry at wendy.parry@foundation4peace.org / 01925 581234 or alternatively, please click here

To learn more about Vickie’s Charity Ball on Saturday 29th September 2018, please visit https://www.facebook.com/events/177587302839596/ or alternatively, click on Leeds Charity Ball with full details