Shaftesbury Young People held their 175th Anniversary Event on Friday 3 August at Esher Place, one of their former residential homes in Surrey.
The event took place on a beautiful hot summer’s evening and the 100 guests in attendance, and all have links to the charity old and new, were welcomed with a drinks reception. Those who attended included former pupils who were looked after by the charity in the residential homes and on the ship ‘The Arethusa’ when it was docked in Medway. Plus former staff, trustees and friends and business associates of the charity including local councillors and dignitaries. This was then followed by Phil Williams, our CEO, giving a welcome speech and providing background about the charity’s history, which set out where we started and where we are headed.
This was followed up by a presentation by Graham Davey, Trustee of Bisley Village Hall Heritage Project on the charity’s past history, our residential homes and the young boys and girls who went there. The evening programme began with a beautiful rendition of three poems written and performed by David Neita, Poetry Lawyer and former Trustee with BASCA Composer of the Year, Deborah Pritchard on Double Bass. Everyone was taken aback at his performance which really took your breath away it caught all the guests attention.
Then our host BBC Radio Devon Presenter David Fitzgerald interviewed our very special guest, Falkland’s War Veteran Simon Weston CBE, about his experience as a soldier and how it has changed his outlook and thinking on life and his work with his own charitable cause. His stories were ‘stirring stuff ’commented Councillor Alex Paterson on Twitter.
The auction took place with 14 lots on offer to raise money for the charity and we thank our very kind donors for their auction gifts and for the people who bidded in the auction and won their prizes. We raised over £2,000 from the auction and over another £1,000 from donations received from people who were unable to attend the evening.
The event was rounded off with the most spectacular fireworks and laser display supplied by Platinum Fireworks who did a brilliant job choreographing the fireworks and lasers to electrifying and stirring music, including mottos from the residential homes and the logo and 175 to finish of the show which was all displayed on the front of the grand and impressive Esher Place.
Our notable guests that evening included:
Deputy Mayor of Elmbridge Mary Sheldon and Consort, John Sheldon, Deputy Mayor and Mayoress of Medway: Habib and Bridget Tehan, Medway Councillors: Vince Maple, Alex Paterson, Andrew Mackness
Nicholas (Nick) Ashley-Cooper Shaftesbury, 12th Earl of Shaftesbury, Ark Royal RN Commander Paul Bolas
SYP Trustees: Brian Scott, Chair, Elliot Bancroft, Clare Searle
Arethusa Old Boys Association Members: David Bunce, Roger Alford, Brian Baker, Kevin Wells
Esher Place ladies: Mrs Susan Gunn and Mrs Josephine Duffy
David Fitzgerald & Simon Weston, hosts and celebrity VIP guests
Bisley Village Hall Heritage Project Trustees group shot: Graham Davey, Susan Smith, Keith Mansfield, Dave Grist.
What the guests wore: Suits and Cocktail Dresses with a splash of red – we provided red rosette name badges with a sparkle
What the guests ate: Chicken or Vegetable Curry, Lamb or Vegetable Tagine and a selection of cold dishes with Raspberry & White Chocolate Tartlet and Vanilla Baked Cheesecake for desert
What the guests drank: Prosecco, The ‘Williams 175’ Cocktail all proceeds went to the charity
What the guests thought of the event:
Medway Councillor for River Ward, Andrew Mackness, and his wife Nancy says: “We were delighted to join the celebrations support the 175th anniversary of Shaftesbury Homes and Arethusa recently and look forward to working with the trust to deliver many more years of support for children and young people in Medway “
Vince Maple, Leader of the Medway Labour Group says: "It was a fantastic event organised by Shaftesbury Young People with an opportunity to both look back of the past 175 years and look forward to the future. In particular hearing from Simon Weston CBE on how young people need to be given the best start in life was very powerful. Hearing the first hand stories from people like David was incredibly moving too. My congratulations to all involved"
Mrs Susan Gunn, former Esher Place pupil, says: ‘It was a dream come true, I loved everything about it.’
With special thanks to: Unite the Union and Richard Griffiths, The General Manager who supported the event and made it possible. The Chris Dunne band who serenaded us while we ate and Katherine Rhodes the Magician who entertained people with close-up magic.