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A charity ball at Wolverhampton Racecourse next month (May) will be a bitter-sweet event for the organisers, as it is being held in memory of little Wilf Matthews who passed away in 2014 at the age of three.

Wilf, from Highley in Shropshire, was born with a genetic condition called Acromicric Dysplasia which affected his skeletal development; he spent most of his last 12 months at Birmingham Children’s Hospital and received vital equipment support from Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children.

Both Newlife and the hospital will benefit from the gala fundraiser at Wolverhampton Racecourse on Saturday 20 May.

The event is being organised by Wilf’s parents Joanne and Daniel Matthews, supported by family and friends.

Joanne said: “The event is called The Big Red Bus Ball because Wilf’s favourite nursery rhyme was ‘The Wheels on the Bus’. It’s the second ball we have organised in his memory; the first was in 2015 and raised around £18,000 to help organisations that supported Wilf during his short life.“

We know there are other families who have to deal with similar circumstances – and this fundraiser will help support two of the organisations that support them.

“Newlife provided us, at very short notice, with a specialist buggy to carry Wilf and all of his life-saving equipment. This made a huge difference to us at the time – it even enabled Wilf to board a ‘big, red bus’ that visited the hospital specially for him.” The same big red bus will be a feature at next month’s gala ball, along with ‘Wilf’s Carnival Band’, a group of ukelele players from Worcester.

Tickets for the event are £50 each and available by going to The evening will feature a three-course meal and entertainment from the Mark Black Band, a raffle and auction including prizes of a one-hour trial flight with The Flying School at Wolverhampton Airport, a Porsche driving experience at Silverstone racetrack and a racing evening with meal for four at Wolverhampton Racecourse.

Joanne said: “We are hoping to attract 300-plus guests to the gala ball. It promises a great evening out – and everyone who joins us will know they are helping two really amazing causes.”