Butterfly Events

The Ayrshire-based charity hits £500,000

by Gill Sherry

Fundraising is hard work. Persuading people to part with their hard-earned cash is a constant battle, no matter how good the cause. But Lorna Dempsey is a determined lady and, as a result of her charity endeavours, she has now raised over half a million pounds for Cancer Research UK.

Following the loss of her friend to breast cancer in 2005, Lorna set up Butterfly Events. Named after her ‘gorgeous and flighty’ friend, she hosted her first Butterfly Ball in March 2007. Since then, she has organised a string of affordable events including Butterfly Bazaars (Ladies Lunch) and Hillbilly 10ks (Dalmellington cross-country).

The key, she believes, is to arrange events that are inexpensive but enjoyable, thus encouraging more people to attend.

“That was always the USP… to pitch it to people that want to support these kinds of charities but can’t afford to pay £100 for a ticket.”

This year’s Hillbilly event, for example, cost just £20 to enter. It was after this cross-country 10k in February that Butterfly Events reached its amazing fundraising total of £500,000.

“The support that people have shown has been phenomenal,” says Lorna. “It’s been 16 years so it’s a long, long time… but the awareness that has been raised in Ayrshire through the events and people sharing their stories, it’s quite something.”

Of course, Lorna hasn’t done it entirely by herself, a fact she recognises as she praises the Butterfly Events committee and her family and friends, all of whom have supported her along the way, doing their bit to help raise money for Cancer Research UK.

“Since we started, statistics have moved to one in two of us will get cancer in our lifetime, which is really sad. But the difference that we’ve made with the half a million pounds with the different treatments and technology that’s out there, and the different clinical trials that have been happening, means that we will be able to live with cancer.”

Despite hitting this impressive fundraising milestone, Lorna is already thinking ahead to her next event.

“The next event is our Ladies Lunch, the Butterfly Bazaar. It’s on 8th October at Ayr Racecourse in the marquee. This is one event that moves around. It’s been at Turnberry, it’s been at Enterkine House, it’s been at Ayr Racecourse but in the main suite. It’s just something a wee bit different this year.”

Tickets will soon be on sale via the Butterfly Events socials so keep an eye on Facebook or Instagram for details.

In the meantime, the team at AM would like to congratulate Lorna on 16 years of tireless fundraising and on reaching her incredible target of half a million pounds. Well done, Lorna!