More than £72,000 was raised by Hull’s business community at an annual charity lunch attended recently by Williamsons Solicitors.
The Sailors’ Children’s Society Sportsman’s Lunch on October 13 at the Double Tree by Hilton saw nearly 700 business people digging deep for winter clothing grants as the cost-of-living crisis fuelled a surge in demand for help.
The urgent funds were donated through tickets, sponsorship, auctions and a raffle, beating last year’s previous record holding figure of £55,000.
The national charity, which started in Hull in 1821, supports the children of seafarers all over the country and has held the Sportsman’s Lunch for more than two decades. Guests at this year’s event, for which Williamsons is a main sponsor, were entertained by star speaker the Welsh former Rugby Union referee and television personality Nigel Owens.
The auction, which raised £29,300, was hosted by Caroline Hawley from BBC One’s Bargain Hunt, who was joined by her husband, the ex-footballer John Hawley. For the third consecutive year, former Olympians Jamie Baulch and Colin Jackson attended after being inspired to provide ongoing help to the charity. Jamie hosted the silent auction and Colin donated a group training session as an auction prize which raised more than £6,000 with the winning bid going to RSM.
Natasha Barley, the organisation’s new CEO, said that the lunch was key to raising money to help those in desperate need and that she was ‘bowled over by the phenomenal result’.
“I know how precious our annual fundraising lunch is to our loyal attendees so I really wanted to make this one extra special.
“It was an incredible event and you could feel the positive energy and excitement in the room. We’ve raised just over £72,000 after our costs which is a staggering amount and I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved.
“The cost-of-living crisis has led to a massive increase in families contacting us and this money will be used to buy winter coats for all the children we support across the UK who would otherwise go without.
“I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who attended and supported our charity, especially our auctioneer Caroline Hawley and our main sponsors Williamsons Solicitors and Beerhouse Vehicle Rental, associate sponsors James Legal and Street Accountants, and junior sponsors Hamers and AON. I can’t wait for next year.”
Sarah Clubley, director at Williamsons Solicitors, said: “This is a fantastic result. We have been supporting the Sportsman’s Lunch for many years and it has proved a wonderful annual fundraiser with businesses from all over showing incredible generosity.”
The charity provides help to mariners from fishing fleets, Royal Navy and Merchant Navy families through various grants including for food, clothing and emergency heating.