The Snowball started in 1947 just after the Second World War when the country was in a poor state. Edward Swales started the event with the idea that everyone who attended the ball would bring at least one toy for needy children in the area at Christmas. In the early days the Yorkshire Evening Post had a Toy Fund at Christmas and the toys received at the Snowball were given for that Fund. After a period of time the Yorkshire Evening Post gave up the Toy Fund but we decided to continue and we have mainly supported the NSPCC with the toys given by people attending the ball.
The main purpose of the Snowball is to raise a good collection of toys but there have been occasions when we have had sufficient funds to make donations to other organisations such as Follifoot Park Disabled Riders Group, the children's ward at Leeds General Infirmary, Martin House, and Leeds Society for the Blind and Deaf. We have also recently supported Springwater School in Harrogate, Throstle Nest Riding for the Disabled, plus an online support mechanism for children suffering from Type 1 Diabetes and their families called Digibete.
For many years, the Snowball was held at the Astoria Ballroom which used to be in Harehills but was demolished some years ago. For a short period the Snowball was held at the Allerton on Nursery Lane in Moortown and then for a number of years at the Craiglands Hotel in Ilkley, before moving in 1990, to the Majestic Hotel, and now the beautiful setting of The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate.
"What a great night! I don't think I've ever been to a ball as much fun as the Snowball! I really hope I can make it next year."
"I thought last year's ball was the best ever, but this year it exceeded all my expectations ! It was a such a tasty 3 course meal, and the ambience in the ballroom was tremendous! Thank you Christian for inviting me, I'm so pleased to have a friend on the Snowball committee."
"It's so busy around the festive period that it can be really difficult to get together with good friends. But I had such a laugh with them all at the Snowball - it just made my Christmas!"
"Not only did I win one of the many great prizes on offer in the raffle, but I met my girlfriend whilst dancing to the great music of the Nightjars, and now we're engaged! Next year I'm going to organise my own table, as I want as many friends as possible to celebrate with me at the 72nd Snowball!"
The Snowball Committee
The Snowball is organised on a voluntary basis by our committee members: Peter Wooler, Sally Bickerton, Angela Gale, Christian Kaiser and Gregory & Tracy O'Keefe.
If you support what we do, share the same interests and are willing to help, then why not join us? We'll be delighted to welcome you!