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SSE Renewables supports Melanoma-Me's annual Butterfly Ball, raising over £15,000 for the northeast-based charity

12 Dec 2023

IMAGE: From left to right; Hughe Stephenson (SSE Renewables), George Hawkings (SSE Renewables), Leigh Dreyer (Friend of Ricky Harker who was diagnosed with melanoma in 2015), Ricky Harker (SSE Renewables) and Chris Lloyd (SSE Renewables)

SSE Renewables proudly sponsored skin cancer charity Melanoma-Me's annual Amanda Seymour Butterfly Ball last month, a significant fundraising event that generated an impressive £15,692 for the melanoma-focused charity.

The charity’s key event, which had 335 glamorous attendees on the night, was held at the Ramside Hotel & Spa in Durham and is named in honour of mum-of-two Amanda who passed away from skin cancer in 2017.

Sponsorship of the ball is part of SSE Renewables partnership with the charity which will see the company support a number of events throughout the next calendar year, as well as funding counselling sessions for those diagnosed with melanoma and their families.

The partnership came to fruition through Ricky Harker, Solar & Battery Construction Site Supervisor at SSE Renewables, whose close friend was diagnosed with melanoma in 2015.

As part of SSE Renewables' commitment to the well-being of its workforce, Melanoma-Me provided UV bands to company personnel working on its solar and battery projects. The bands, which detect the strength of UV rays, were initially introduced at SSE Renewables’ Ferrybridge battery storage project in West Yorkshire, before being rolled out to staff across the broader SSE Renewables team.

In addition to sponsoring the Butterfly Ball, SSE Renewables has allocated funds to support critical initiatives by Melanoma-Me. The company has provided funding for 20 free counselling sessions, available to individuals diagnosed with melanoma and their family and friends. These sessions, facilitated by trained and accredited counsellors from the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), aim to provide emotional support during challenging times.

Ricky Harker, Solar & Battery Construction Site Supervisor – SSE Renewables, said: “Witnessing the impact of melanoma on my friend was a catalyst for me to raise awareness about melanoma and in particular, to make my colleagues aware of the dangers of UV rays while working outside on our sites.

“I’m delighted that SSE Renewables has been so supportive and have seen first hand how much this partnership means for the Melanoma-Me charity and those affected by this type of skin cancer.

“It’s great to see the UV bands being worn by SSE Renewables colleagues across all of our sites and to be making a difference for a charity that is so close to my heart.”

Kerry Rafferty, CEO of Melanoma-Me, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be partnered with SSE Renewables - the support we have received has helped us to reinforce the counselling services we offer to our melanoma community.

“The Amanda Seymour Butterfly Ball, sponsored by SSE Renewables, helped us to raise £15,692 which equates to over 440 counselling sessions; this incredible amount helps us to continue the work that we do at Melanoma-Me Foundation.

“SSE Renewables’ sponsorship also includes an amount for our awareness sessions, and we have already completed one of these at Sunderland University, helping anyone trained to recognise any signs of melanoma at the earliest stage."

Melanoma-Me’s next big event is Tom’s Fest, named in memory of Tom Linton, who passed away from malignant melanoma aged 20. The festival, which will take place on Saturday 1st June 2024 at Park View School in Chester-le-Street, brings awareness to the local community and beyond with over 600 attendees at the 2023 event. SSE Renewables will be sponsoring the 2024 festival.