Best Charity Special Event
Children with Cancer UK – The Children with Cancer UK Ball
Children with Cancer UK is the UK’s leading children’s charity, dedicated to raising and investing funds for vital specialist research to fight the injustice of cancer in children and young people. The Children with Cancer UK Ball is the flagship event for the charity having run for an astounding 33 years.
This special evening was originally established in memory of Paul O’Gorman, the son of Children with Cancer UK’s founders, and has grown to become a major fundraising event in the charity’s calendar. 2019 saw a refreshed and revitalised event, with a new brand and enhanced guest experience the event was transformed into a dazzling show utilising video footage to bring the event to life. Hosted by Irish comedian Dara Ó Briain and headlined by R&B legend Billy Ocean, the Ball attended by around 800 guests, including reality TV queen Scarlett Moffatt, come together for a wonderful evening of gourmet cuisine, fundraising and entertainment in London’s largest ballroom at the stunning Grosvenor House Hotel.
English National Opera – An Evening of Myths and Magic
English National opera was a vision of lives changed through opera.
Our annual Gala, the pinnacle of our events calendar, has three core objectives: showcase artistic talent and creativity, raise the profile of ENO Baylis, and raise indispensable funds.
Drawing on themes in our 2019/20 season, ‘An Evening of Myths and Magic’ was born. To stand out with potential philanthropists, we sought to create something immersive and interactive, taking guests on a whimsical and magical journey, beyond a simple dinner concert.
Hosted at Guildhall, the performance began quite literally around them; our Chorus, posing as guests, broke in to song while soloists and actors appeared. Under the influence of a magical ‘love potion’ they began to fall in love with each other. And the audience. And our CEO. And even a painting in the gallery!
Guests were mesmerised by performances, with the cast including Dame Sarah Connolly.
The magical evening was rounded off with an edible lit candle for dessert.
Even with a restrictive budget, we were able to achieve a fantastic result, surpassing fundraising goals, while being featuring in various publications.
The creativity of our teams proved that opera is a living and vivacious art form worthy of investment.
/GroceryAid / Wellpleased Events – Waitrose & Partners Garden Party in aid of GroceryAid
The Waitrose & Partners Garden Party 2019 was a new event that spectacularly reinvented the charity fundraiser model last summer.
GroceryAid and Wellpleased Events took the bold move out of London and away from the traditional spaces associated with such events. Using a ‘green site’ they were able to adopt a ‘site from scratch’ approach to perfectly create their vision and every bespoke element. The result was intricate network of 17 structures blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor. Bars made from vintage cabinets, a 7m stately home, an orchard, vegetable floral displays, edible table centres and an elaborate lighting system to mimic the natural light outside left guests stunned.
Insisting on inclusivity, 125 suppliers were represented in the 920 guests. The result was a magical night raising funds and awareness for GroceryAid, uniquely in an arena where every attendee could benefit from their work. Relaxing and reformatting the approach to fundraising was a dramatic success with 100% feedback of planning to return.
JDRF – The Sugarplum Dinner
Raising an incredible £1.5million, The Sugarplum Dinner 2019 was the fourth Sugarplum event for JDRF and the most successful in the charity’s history.
On World Diabetes Day, Thursday 14 November 2019, The Sugarplum Dinner attracted 350 high-profile guests to the V&A Museum for a night of exquisite dining, record-breaking fundraising and private performances. Guests included Mark Ronson, Florence Welch, Lord Julian Fellowes, Dolly Alderton and Jonny Labey.
The special events team assembled and collaborated with an 18 member Event Committee, using their unique strengths and connections to secure exclusive prizes, special guests and Michelin star winning chefs for the evening. The team also built on the back of previous Sugarplum events, innovating to bring a fundraising-focused evening that still inspired guests to believe they could affect real change for those living with type 1 diabetes. The event secured an incredible £1million solo pledge and raised £266,000 from live and silent auctions.
The Dinners are hosted by Jubie Wigan and raise money for JDRF, the type 1 diabetes charity. Jubie founded Sugarplum Children in 2013 after her daughter Aliena was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at just two years old. Since 2013, The Sugarplum Dinners have raised over £3million for JDRF.
National Theatre – Up Next Gala 2019
Up Next is the National Theatre’s biennial fundraising gala. In 2019 it raised a record-breaking £1.2million to fund inspiring work in and with communities across the UK.
Funds raised from Up Next enabled the NT to deliver incredible acts of community with partners across the country, specifically targeted to redress the imbalance in access to the arts, to celebrate the positivity of community action and harness the potential of theatre to bring people together.
The extraordinary event featured bespoke performances by some of the nation’s favourite actors, an auction of once-in-a-lifetime experiences and a demonstration of collaborative working with community-based ensembles. But it was far more than a traditional gala and, most importantly, it delivered a compelling message about the joyous power of theatre, of respecting our differences and recognising our similarities and truly represented the work of the NT.
SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity – Defence Industry Charitable Dinner
The Defence Industry Charitable Dinner is the annual flagship special event of SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity. In 2019, SSAFA delivered the dinner and saw the charity raise more than £200,000 which was the highest fundraising total in the event’s fifteen-year history. The key to the event’s fundraising total was primarily down to securing major sponsorships and selling all of the available tables which meant that SSAFA had reached £200,000 before the event itself took place. SSAFA also owes its success to the guestlist including numerous VIPs from within the defence sector and hence provided the dinner’s guests with fantastic networking opportunities. Two of these VIPs were the Chief of Defence Staff, who hosted the event and the Secretary of State for Defence who delivered the keynote speech. SSAFA carefully selected a suitable beneficiary speaker whose open and honest SSAFA story encouraged guests to dig deep on the night and took them over the £200,000 mark.
The Prince’s Trust – Lunch with an Old Bag
Lunch with an Old Bag (LWOB) is one of the most glamorous and glittering events in the Scottish social calendar. It brings together over 400 of Scotland’s most glamorous and stylish ladies, with first class food and entertainment provided by the likes of Lulu, Bryan Ferry and Sister Sledge. It takes place each year in September at the prestigious Prestonfield House Hotel in Edinburgh.
It all started in 2009 with the aim of challenging negative stereotypes. Women over 40 are often inappropriately perceived as “Old Bags”, as “over the hill” or “past it”, in much the same way as disadvantaged young people can be wrongly labelled. To highlight the latter, LWOB was launched to celebrate the glamour and grace of women who aren’t afraid of birthdays, and to shine a light on the issues faced by young people in Scotland.
Over the lifetime of the event, LWOB has raised a phenomenal £5.5 million+ for The Princes Trust in Scotland.
Unicef UK – Soccer Aid for Unicef Gala
Soccer Aid for Unicef is the world’s biggest charity football match, raising over £37 million since 2006, with a star-studded line-up of ex-footballers and celebrities battling it out between England and the Soccer Aid World IX.
In 2019 Unicef UK decided to grow on these successes by moving into the High Value space with the first ever Soccer Aid for Unicef Gala.
The Soccer Aid for Unicef Gala brought together the worlds of Soccer Aid of Sports, Entertainment and celebrity in a way that brought joy to all involved. The event felt fun, fresh and exciting whilst also managing to raise £800,000 for children.
Guests arrived at the Science Museum to walk down the real grass carpet, through a players tunnel to the sounds of cheers to make a splash on arrival. The football theming continued with their football shirt escort cards and match day themed programme bringing elements together.
The star studded evening had speeches from Mark Wright, Roman Kemp, David Harewood and ended with a fantastic performance from Soccer Aid Gala committee chair, Robbie Williams.