Fifth Annual Dinner sets a new fundraising record

Thursday 22 September saw ABTA LifeLine’s fifth annual dinner which was once again held at the beautiful and unique Royal Air Force Club in London’s Mayfair.

Guests enjoyed pre dinner drinks in the Churchill Bar and were taken by surprise when the entertainment for the evening presented itself. A Capella group The Buzztones burst into song and lined the grand staircase serenading the guests as they found their way to the Ballroom upstairs.

Once seated, Trudie Drake, Director of ABTA LifeLine gave guests an overview of the charity’s achievements over the past 12 months and thanked some of the inspirational fundraisers who have undertaken some serious challenges in the name of ABTA LifeLine this year. From Caroline Brown’s 16 in 16 challenge, to Niall Douglas’ London to Paris cycle, to Chris Photi who was covered in gunge and finally Bridget Keevil who took part in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. It was fantastic to revisit the overwhelming support that the charity has been given over the past year.

But of course the underlying message for guests was about the people that the charity supports. The people that desperately need a financial lifeline but have nowhere to turn. After telling guests the stories of some of the charity’s beneficiaries, Trudie called for the support of a very special couple Lin and Steve.

Lin worked in the travel industry for many years. In 2014 her husband Steve suffered a massive stroke. He was not expected to live but defied all odds. He lay in bed for eight and a half months often in excruciating pain which he could not communicate, but through sheer determination, dedication and incredible support from Lin, Steve is now able to stand.

It has not been an easy journey and Lin has faced many challenges during Steve’s recovery. From battling with the benefits system, to fighting for rehabilitation it has been emotionally and physically exhausting.

Trudie announced that ABTA LifeLine wanted to raise £10,000 that evening to procure equipment that will support Steve’s recovery and help Liz with the essentials to make their lives a little easier.

After dinner and before the fundraising began, guests were treated to a few words by the talented and engaging Mr Jeremy Vine who was a real crowd pleaser. It was then down to ABTA LifeLine’s Chairman and renowned auctioneer Derek Jones to kick off the fundraising with the raffle and the auction.

There were some fantastic prizes on offer; from a magical Lapland adventure donated by Thomas Cook, a romantic holiday for two to Sardinia donated by TUI, a River Thames Charter Cruise donated by Sunvil Holidays and a week’s stay in a three-bedroom apartment in Spain donated by HolidaysPlease, there really was something for everyone.

A huge thanks to our headline sponsors IPP, all those that donated prizes and of course all of those who donated to generously. Over £12,000 was raised on the evening which will not only go towards helping Lin and Steve but to other individuals and families who really need our help.