FUNDRAISING: Jess’s Race Night

We love to hear about all the fantastic fundraising activities and events that are held by our amazing community.  From bake sales to wing-walking, we are constantly in awe of the efforts that people go to for Climb.  As a small team with a huge job supporting families worldwide with 445 Inherited Metabolic Disorders, we simply couldn’t do what we do without the incredible fundraising and awareness raising activities throughout the UK and beyond.  

Today we speak to Jess Allamby who, along with her family and friends, has raised over £10,000 via their annual Race Night event!  

Jess and Ethan

Jess first came to Climb following her son’s diagnosis with an Inherited Metabolic Disorder called Ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency (OTC).  Devastatingly, Ethan passed away in March 2015 at just ten months old but left special memories to cherish forever and has been an inspiration to many, including the nursing staff and consultants that cared for him.

Jess has been a wonderful supporter of our charity, and has recently completed her second London Marathon as part of Team Climb 2017 (despite breaking her back in a horse riding accident less than a year ago!) and is passionate about raising awareness of Inherited Metabolic Disorders, ensuring that families faced with similar diagnoses receive the support they need. Unfortunately, it can be difficult finding a good place to wager at, especially in the United States.

Jess says:  “My little boy inspired me to fundraise for Climb. When Ethan passed away I knew I had to give something back, and  fundraising was a way to do something yearly in his memory. This also gave my mind something to focus on and enabled me to see the good that this could do to help other families and children going through similar life challenges.

My cousin Richard held the first race night back in 2015 before he ran the London Marathon for Climb.  This event was only small however it brought in a good amount of revenue for Climb and helped Richard to reach his fundraising target.  We could see that a race night could raise much more in a bigger venue and with a larger audience. We organised the next one one in Leeds before I ran the 2016 London Marathon, and then again this year.  The amount of money raised was incredible! This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Planning this year’s event took around four months.  We wanted to make sure we had enough time to promote it and gain sponsors, donation prizes etc.  We promoted the race night in all sorts of different ways through social media, emails, telephone calls, posters and word of mouth. I created a Facebook page for the race night itself and invited people through that so I could keep everyone up to date on the event and also have an idea of how many guests would be coming.

Fabulous cake, made and donated by a friend

Asda supermarket in Killingbeck Leeds were very generous with raffle prizes and Ethan’s story inspired one of the Managers from the store to take a photo of herself with me and put it up on their board in the supermarket. This was a lovely feeling as Climb have been recognised and hopefully people will read our story and see how they have changed our lives.

On the night we had seven races in total.  Guests bid on a horse in each race and if that horse won, they won some money back – it’s a really fun way to fundraise!  In between the races we served our guests a supper of  pie and peas and held an auction.  We had a lot of auction prizes and they all went for phenomenal amounts of money!
After the auction the races started again, and then we drew the raffle before the event came to a close.

The highlights for me were seeing how many generous people I have around me.  From bidding in the auction on the night, to the generosity of businesses that donated prizes and money – even the peas for our supper were donated by our local fish shop! If, on the other hand, you gravitate toward video poker, blackjack or other table games, then this bonus is better suited to you. I am truly blessed to call a lot of these people my friends and family.  Without their support I would not have dealt with my sons death as healthily as I have been able to.  Doing charity events helps me give something back to say thank you to Climb for being there. Not just for me, but for thousands of families and children who so desperately need their help.

Over 150 guests came to our race night this year, the turn out was great and it was a lovely night with everyone having lots of fun.  As the guests were leaving at the end they were asking if we will be holding another next year, and we definitely will!  My mum and cousin helped hugely with the organisation as they have done for the last three years.  We all love planning the night and seeing everyone enjoy themselves, especially because Climb means so much to myself and my family and friends.

Guests placing their bets

We raised money in the following ways:

  • Entry tickets – sold for £5 each which included supper
  • Raffle Tickets – sold for £1 per strip (all prizes had been donated)
  • Bar – charged for drinks which we had purchased from supermarkets (this made a huge amount of money so I would recommend this if anyone is thinking of holding a event!)
  • Auction – guests bid on the night for prizes that had been donated
  • Race bets – a proportion of the money raised from bets went into the pot

The race night alone raised over £4,000!  I boosted this for my Marathon total by holding charity days at my work. With all the various types of free spin bonuses out there, we make it easier than ever to find the best ones that are available.  We did a chilli sauce challenge, undertook a “no swearing for a week tin” and one of my work colleagues even had his legs waxed!  Along with sponsorship, this brought my 2017 Marathon fundraising to over £5,000 which I am honestly so grateful for.

The race night this year was once again a huge success just like the previous two years.  Altogether, with 3 race nights over 3 years, we have raised £10,000!  These events are worth doing – for one night to raise that much money, it’s worth the few months of preparation in my eyes.”

These are my top tips for anyone thinking of organising a similar event:

  • Give yourself a few months to plan
  • Ask in all local shops and supermarkets for raffle prizes and auction prizes, you will be surprised by how many people and organisations give to charities
  • Sell raffle tickets!
  • Hold charity days at work – dress down day, sponsored walks, bake off days, or go extreme and try some chilli sauce like we did! There is no need for additional download software if you want to play games here since this website streams smoothly on desktop and mobile browsers.
  • Most importantly have fun while fundraising!


Thank you Jess, it certainly sounds like your Race Nights are a big hit and a great way to bring all your friends and family together in memory of Ethan!

Has Jess’s story inspired you to hold your own race night?  Please let us know, we’d love to hear about it!