Masquerade Ball held at Wivenhoe House raises £2,500 for St Helena Hospice

A charity masquerade ball held by a Colchester businesswoman has raised £2,500 for St Helena Hospice.

Susie Bulman, owner of Colchester-based Squarestar Digital wanted to raise funds for the St Helena Hospice, which has supported her family through her father’s illness. Susie also runs a not-for-profit organisation, Inspire Me Networking, which organises events aimed at bringing business owners together in inspiring and fun environments.

The idea for a masquerade ball came from Susie’s work with business owners, many of whom have felt isolated since the pandemic.

Susie says, “It has been a tough few years and business owners are feeling it. We can’t operate in isolation, we aren’t made to, and the idea of removing our masques at the event was symbolic of lowering our barriers, embracing the freedom of connecting again, feeling amazing and raising funds for an incredible charity.”


The networking ball, held at Wivenhoe House was attended by 65 local businesses, who also sponsored raffle and auction items that contributed to the total raised.

“It was a lot to organise on top of Christmas,” explains Susie, “but it was all worth it. I am so happy that we managed to raise £2,500 for the hospice, which has helped me support my father Nigel who has Lewy Body Dementia and Parkinson’s. He was a business owner himself, and while he may not have understood what I was telling him about the ball, he knows the hospice well as they have also helped several of his friends. His eyes filled with tears when I told him how amazing the evening had been and that he inspired me to make it happen.

“That meant the world to me, and I’m so incredibly touched that so many businesses attended the event, got creative with their outfits and masks and were so generous with their time and support. While I said never again, I am already planning another event for 2024 – how could I not?”

Event sponsors were Carbon Numbers, Wilkin & Sons Tiptree, Cloud9 Business Coaching, the DS Group, Squarestar Digital, Marshall Creative Media and Beth Chatto’s Plants & Gardens.