Award-winning Woods Restaurant, Produce Store & Bars hosted a very special Wine Tasting at Woods last Friday, which helped raised close to £5,000 for Amelia’s Miracle. Amelia Saunders has an inoperable brain tumour and is the three year old daughter of Chantal Saunders, whose best university friend (Hildenborough-based Esther Parks) and regular customer at Woods Restaurant in Tunbridge Wells – got in touch with the owners (Karen and Sheridan Wood) to see if there was anything they could do to help raise funds.
So the Woods rushed to offer their restaurant venue in the middle of the historic Pantiles free-of-charge to host a wine tasting and fundraising evening with auction and raffle. Close to 70 customers and guests were keen to support the evening which kicked off with an unusual wine tasting based on the ‘Strange and Obscure’. Vintner Tim Fletcher, from Rodney Fletcher Vintners, took the guests on a fascinating ‘wine tour’ of white and red wines during the course of the evening as guests tucked into delicious cheese, meat and fish platters, served with Woods own chutneys, oils and paté.
The auction which was run by Thomas Blest from Tunbridge Wells and Hastings Auctioneers raised a staggering £2,370, with the highest bid reaching £800 for a week’s stay in a luxury villa on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Neil Buchanan, star of the BAFTA winning Art Attack show on TV, and now a fine artist based in Kent and East Sussex donated ‘A little HOPE’ canvas from his debut collection of fine art which proved extremely popular and raised a further £200 for Amelia’s Miracle. The largest single donation was made by Mark Mitchell, director of Core Group in Surrey for £1,000.
Commenting on the fundraiser, Karen Wood, of Woods on the Pantiles, said: “Amelia Saunders’ family had raised just under half of the funds they needed to help their daughter complete her treatment, when we heard about this adorable and courageous young girl, and we just wanted to help in any way we could. We have been delighted by the generosity of the people of Kent and everyone that came and would like to say a very big thank you to everyone on behalf of a very little girl!”
All the funds raised will now be used to help Amelia Saunders continue with her pioneering therapy – Antineoplaston – which is only available in the USA and is expected to cost up to £200,000. Incredibly, in a short space of time, the Saunders have seen the fund rise quickly from the half way mark to £170,000 (just £30,000 of the final sum needed) thanks to the incredible generosity of friends, family, and complete strangers touched by the story.
A few days after the Woods Wine Tasting fundraiser the Saunders were delivered their first little miracle when an MRI scan (following Amelia’s first trip to the States) showed the tumour had stopped growing. The news seemed even more precious to the Saunders family, friends and supporters, as prior to the Antineoplaston treatment began, Amelia tumour showed an alarming 13 per cent growth in just seven weeks.
Hildenborough-based Esther Parks said: “Amelia and her family still have a long way to go but this is the best news they could have expected at this stage in the treatment.”
All profits from the Woods evening go to Amelia’s Foundation www.ameliasmiracle.com