Earlier this month over 500 people attended the Macmillan ‘Hopes and Dreams’ Ball at York Racecourse, in its fifth year the annual ball is regarded as one of the hottest tickets in York.  After being postponed last year because of the pandemic the ball returned with a bang on Saturday 25 September.   

Matt Ascough, 34, from Malton, organises the ball, which this year had an ‘Enchanted Forest’ theme.  Prior to this years’ glamorous event, Matt had already raised over £50,000 for the Macmillan and set himself a target of £25,000 this year to top £75,000 for the charity.  Phenomenally, this years’ ball raised over £40,500, smashing the original target and taking Matt’s total to over £90,000 for people living with cancer.

Matt, who is a long-standing member of Macmillan’s York Fundraising Committee, is motivated to fundraise for Macmillan following the support he had from the charity eight years ago. In 2013 Matt, then aged 26, was diagnosed with testicular cancer and was supported by a Macmillan nurse in the weeks after his diagnosis and surgery, he said:

“I am totally gobsmacked by this incredible amount, I want to thank everyone who has supported me, their generosity means we can help many people living with cancer across Yorkshire.

“The ball itself was everything I could’ve wished for and more, from the moment the first guests arrived it was clear they were up for a party, there was a real buzz all night.

“I honestly can’t describe what it feels like to have raised over £40,000 this year, I had to check it three times before I could believe the amount.

“I’m so proud of the ‘Hopes and Dreams’ Ball, the event grows bigger each year and I know we’re making a real difference to people living with cancer.

“I’m excited about plans for the ball in 2022, but for now I’m enjoying knowing how much we’ve raised for a charity so close to my heart.

“Macmillan were there for me when I needed them most, My Macmillan nurse gave me a real lift; she was there after surgery and helped me understand what was going to happen next.  She gave me hope, she told me you’re not going to die from this and that made a massive difference.”

Matt, who works as the Assistant Operations Manager at York Racecourse, raised the incredible amount through tickets sales, a silent auction and his JustGiving page. 

Becci Shanks is Macmillan’s Fundraising Manager, she said:

“Everyone at Macmillan would like to extend our thanks and congratulate Matt on this incredible amount.  To have set a target of £25,000 was ambitious, but to have raised almost double that is outstanding, and testament to the hard work and passion Matt puts into the organisation of this fabulous event.

“Every penny raised from Matt’s Ball will go towards Macmillan’s Yorkshire Appeal, helping people living with cancer across the region and it’s no exaggeration to say people with cancer have never needed the support more than they do right now.”

This Saturday (9 October 2021) Matt will present the a cheque for £40,500 to a Macmillan representative; York Racecourse has an association with the charity stretching back over 50 years, in which time an incredible £9 million has been raised, the partnership will see over £250,000 raised in 2021.

People can still support Matt’s fundraising by donating to his Just Giving page, here

Anyone diagnosed with cancer can contact the Macmillan Support Line seven days a week on 0808 808 00 00 or visit the Macmillan website (