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Denbies charity ball pays tribute to Litmus’s Mike Florence

Published:  29 January, 2024

The wine trade is being invited to attend a charity vineyard ball at Denbies Wine Estate in order to honour the memory of Litmus Wine’s Mike Florence, with all proceeds going to support the UK’s leading cancer hospital.

Mike sadly passed away back in 2021 following a battle with Myeloma, leaving behind his wife Sarah and two children Millie and Cooper (pictured).

Scheduled for Saturday 25 May on what would have been Mike’s 50th birthday, the ball will raise money for the Maggie’s Centre at The Royal Marsden in Sutton, with all funds going to support the thousands of families who walk through the doors of Maggie’s each year.

Sarah told Harpers: “When Mike was being treated at the Royal Marsden, the Maggie’s Centre became a bit of a haven for me. I don’t like to think about where my children and I would be in our life after our cancer journey without the support we’ve received from Maggie’s. That’s why, to honour Mike’s 50th birthday, we are hosting a Ball to raise money for all the other cancer sufferers and their families visiting Maggie’s at The Royal Marsden.”

Mike Florence, who was born in South Australia, came to the UK over 20 years ago where he would take a chance and join a small start up called Litmus Wines, eventually becoming an equal partner in the company.

Now, his loved ones are encouraging friends and colleagues to join them at the May ball, a “fun event” Mike would “loved to have been a part of”, Sarah said.

She continued: “When Mike died back in 2021, Covid restrictions were still in place and we weren’t able to bring family and friends together to celebrate his life. With a couple of years under our belts, I feel strong enough to use the occasion of what would have been Mike’s 50th birthday (it falls on a Saturday, so I think the universe is telling us something!) to celebrate the man we all love and miss and raise funds for the amazing Maggie's Centre at The Royal Marsden who have been (and continue to be) there for Millie, Cooper and I and thousands of other families fighting the cancer battle.”

Tickets for the black-tie event are £80, with all proceeds going to Maggie’s, which has helped Sarah and others through the process of supporting and grieving a family member.

Support includes access to an in-house psychologist and also groups such as a widows support group, which Sarah hopes will “continue for others”.

She said: “Anyone who has experienced cancer either as the patient, carer, friend or family member will understand just how overwhelming and lonely hospitals can feel. Unfortunately, the cancer treatment journey means a lot of time is spent in hospital, a lot of waiting... a lot of lonely times.

“At Maggie’s, the kettle is always on and Bryn and his team are on-hand to chat about difficult things or normal, everyday things. When I had to tell the kids that Mike wasn’t going to make it, I couldn’t face doing it in a sterile hospital room, so I took them to Maggie's where I knew I had support if I needed it.

“There's not much more for me to say, other than I really do hope that you, your families and friends will join Millie, Cooper and I on this very special occasion.”

Tickets for the ball on 25 May, 7pm to midnight, are available to purchase here. More information is available here