18 November 2011: Music legends Nile Rodgers and Chic provided the ultimate finale to SHINE’s 2011 Benefit Dinner last night with a barnstorming performance that raised the roof at Billingsgate and will linger in the memory for a long time to come.
Earlier in the evening SHINE’s host for the evening, the BBC’s Political Editor Nick Robinson, had held out the prospect of seeing this remarkable band play live as an incentive for guests to donate generously to SHINE and its most successful projects. It seemed to work: despite the gloomy world economy, the generosity of SHINE’s supporters raised an astonishing £521,000 in the space of just half an hour.
The evening in brief
Hours earlier, SHINE’s supporters had arrived at Old Billingsgate to find it utterly transformed into a stylish, intimate venue. The evening began with champagne, canapés and cocktails while Harry the Piano played a selection of music ranging from Stevie Wonder to the Simpsons, and from Amy Winehouse to Pearl and Dean.
Guests then made their way for a delicious four-course candle-lit dinner, before moving onto the meat of the evening: fundraising. New supporters were introduced to SHINE’s purpose and work with this short infographic, after which SHINE Trustees and Nick reminded guests that the lacklustre economy made SHINE’s work providing educational support to children and teenagers even more important than usual.
Three lots of support
SHINE’s supporters responded with enormous generosity, not only pledging donations to the four projects featured in a second short film but also bidding almost £100,000 for three lots:
- Four tickets to Old Trafford to watch a Premier League game before meeting legendary Manchester United manager and SHINE Patron Sir Alex Ferguson.
- Four tickets to the FA Cup Final and a chance to meet the team at ITV Sport, including Roy Keane and Adrian Chiles, plus a further four tickets to an England match at Euro 2012.
- Dinner for eight with Nick Robinson, Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell, the BBC Today Programme and Dragon’s Den presenter Evan Davis and Gavyn Davies, SHINE Patron (and also formerly Chairman of the BBC).
Thanks to the generosity of some Friends of SHINE, every donation made on the night was matched, raising a total of £521,000 in just 30 minutes. This amount will be added to our net income from table sales and other donations made at the event, every penny of which will go to the projects we fund and will help many more disadvantaged children in the next 12 months.
Given the difficult economic climate, raising so much money is a remarkable testament to the commitment and generosity of SHINE’s supporters. We would like to thank our table buyers and all those who pledged money last night. We would particularly like to thank Nick Robinson (for whom a lucrative second career as a Master of Ceremonies is certain should his journalism gig ever dry up), as well as Sir Alex, ITV Sport and our dinner gurus. And, of course, Nile Rodgers and Chic, who truly brought the evening to a most magnificent conclusion. Thank you all very much.