The imposing domed hall of the Victoria and Albert Museum was the stunning setting for this year’s London Press Club Ball which raised more than £20,000 for the Journalists’ Charity.
Journalists, stars and editors attended the glittering annual event which was hosted by Sky’s Dermot Murnaghan – himself a long-standing ambassador for the charity ‘run by journalists for journalists’.
Guests at the ‘V&A’ in London’s South Kensington included The Sun columnist and Loose Women panellist, Jane Moore, owner of Express News papers and OK!, Richard Desmond, and his wife, Joy, Sky broadcaster and Daily Mirror Assistant Editor, Kevin Maguire, Kristina Kyriacou, adviser to Prince Charles (and Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton), Julian Payne, Prince Charles’s new head of communications, Charles Anson CVO, the Queen’s former Press Secretary and Metro Editor Ted Young.
The patron of the Ball, Lord Black of Brentwood, opened proceedings with a speech imploring guests to ‘dig deep’ for the Journalists’ Charity which helps those in need through ill health, unemployment or sheer bad luck.
He said that this financial help is needed now more than ever because of what he described as a challenging time for the media – an industry whose freedoms and beliefs, he said, are coming under ever-increasing attacks.
As with last year, the Ball was fully digital and the hi-tech silent auction, set up by sponsor Givergy, allowed guests to bid using electronic pads left on each table.
Joint Chairmen of The London Press Club Ball 2016 Ray Massey and Rob Jobson thanked the headline sponsors Jaguar LandRover and sponsors of the champagne reception, Qatar Airways. Without their support and that of our other media partners and supporters the event wouldn’t be possible.
Massey and Jobson said: “Our host Sky Presenter Dermot Murgnahan made an heroic effort to make it to the event – the second time he has hosted our Ball – after presenting a special on Syria. We are so grateful to him and to our Ball Patron Lord Black of Brentwood for their support.
“The evening, held in the splendour of the V&A Museum, that raised in excess of £20,000 from the Givergy online auction, and raised awareness of the London Press Club which as directors of the club is important.
“It also had a very patriotic feel as the Wine and Spirit Trade Association showed our 360 guests that the British can make a corking bottle of fizz too. English sparkling wine from Chapel Down in Kent and Hattingley Valley in Hampshire took the baton from their Champagne colleagues, to host the reception for the first time.
“We were thrilled and proud to be associated with such excellent English wines. Working with the WSTA meant that this year’s charity event was celebrated in style.”
Entertainment was provided by the brilliant violin duo Elektra, The Patriot Girls and a DJ who rounded off the evening with dancing in the Dome.
Journalists’ Charity chair Sue Ryan welcomed the fund-raising efforts of the London Press Club Ball: ‘It’s a lovely atmosphere that combines fun and fund-raising for a very important cause close to our hearts and to our industry. We really do appreciate the hard work by the Ball organisers and their committee to make the evening a great success both for the London Press Club and for our charity’.
Sue also used the event to launch the charity’s new ‘ Your Round’ appeal in which all journalists are being asked to donate £3 per month by e-mailing email@example.com
She told guests: ‘For less than the price of a glass of wine, or a pint, you can transform the lives of journalists in need. It’s a small amount individually but collectively it could be a life-saver for members of our profession when they are in need.’
Chairman of London Press Club, Doug Wills, said: “I’m proud to say that last night’s Press Ball raised more than £20,000 for the Journalists’ Charity. This is a fantastic achievement and once again demonstrates the generosity of those in our profession willing to support such a worthwhile cause.
“It was a fantastic evening and a terrific tribute to our industry to have a full house of 360 journalists and media executives supporting the Press Club and the charity. I would like to say a personal thank you to everyone who made it such a successful event by being there last night.
“I’d also like to congratulate Press Ball chairmen Ray Massey, Rob Jobson, along with their committee, for once again pulling together a brilliantly successful event.”
EasyJet, which sponsored the raffle, and The Money Shop were also key sponsors. British Airways backed the ‘Heads & Tails’ ice-breaker game, and there was also generous support from Kingsland Wines and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
Media partners were News UK, Telegraph Group, DMG Media, Independent and Evening Standard Group and their associated titles.
Media supporters include: Daily Mail, MailOnline, The Mail on Sunday, Trinity Mirror plc, The Sun, Press Association, Metro, SkyNews, Bloomberg, The Guardian and Trinity Mirror.