Celtic FC Foundation’s London Gala is a great success

Less than 24 hours after the club secured the cinch Premiership title at Tannadice, Celtic FC Foundation hosted its fourth fundraising Gala Dinner in London – and it was an honour to be joined by our triumphant manager, Ange Postecoglou.

The event was another huge success at the stunning Four Seasons Hotel at Ten Trinity Square, and it was an intimate gathering with around 100 invited guests, including the manager, former manager, Martin O’Neill, Stiliyan Petrov, and Chris Sutton and an incredible total in the region of £300K was raised.

The event sponsor was long-term supporter of the Foundation, Eland Cables led by Philip Brown, and we also received a host of wonderful prize and gift donations from Celtic Football Club; Martin Brown, Intelligent Car Leasing; the Four Seasons Hotel; Brian Duffy, Watches of Switzerland; Gerard Burns; David Yarrow; Ajay Chopra; Pearse Flynn, Creditfix; Lord Haughey; Franciso Lampreia; Mikhail Tabakov; Janina Wolkow, JIJI Restaurant; the Family of Bertie Auld; Ian Bankier, The Whisky Shop and Timeless Candles Scotland.

Hosted by Peter Martin, the evening kicked off with a vote of thanks from Tony Hamilton, Chief Executive of Celtic FC Foundation, followed by a video piece featuring the work of the charity.

Every guest was then on their feet to welcome Ange Postecoglou to the stage, in celebration and awe of a man who, in such a short space of time, has returned the club to its rightful place as champions of Scotland. Bringing ‘Angeball’ to Celtic Park and getting supporters off their seats again with his exciting, relentless, brand of football, it has been a debut season to remember. The manager took part in a Q&A session and regaled those lucky to be in attendance with a host of wonderful and spine-tingling memories from his first season in charge at Celtic – and emphasised yet again just how proud he is of this current group of players.

During the meal, guests were treated to a live music set from the fantastic Troubadours, who made their way around the tables, providing their own unique brand of entertainment.

Following the main course, it was an honour to welcome Russell Watson, the UK’s best-selling classical artist, to the stage for an outstanding half-hour set.

Since being described by the New York Times as a performer “who sings like Pavarotti and entertains the audience like Sinatra” Russell subsequently released ten studio albums, each one receiving more critical acclaim than the last.

After dessert, Peter Martin introduced a video piece featuring three Foundation projects which are set to benefit from funds raised this evening – Ability Counts in Glasgow and Ireland, Lions’ Lunch Breaks in Glasgow and Edinburgh and our ongoing delivery in London.

Next up was the live auction which contained a total of eight outstanding prizes and these were complemented by a further 19 in the silent auction.

Taking to the stage next was Celtic FC Foundation supporter, Stephanie Drew. She bravely and passionately shared the very personal and heart-breaking story of her son Sean, who has faced devastating health issues as a young man. Stephanie touched on a number of examples of Foundation support for Sean through project participation and she emphasised the hugely positive difference this has made to all of their lives. Such an inspirational and courageous family.

Peter Martin then appealed to and encouraged guests to lend their support to the Foundation through the evening’s pledge drive and a wealth of donations were very gratefully received.

Following such an outstanding period of generosity across the auction, silent auction and pledge drive, Peter Martin welcomed former Celtic and Republic of Ireland manager, Martin O’Neill, to the stage for an enthralling and engaging Q&A session.

Martin came out on top after a hilarious exchange with Peter Martin and then reminisced about his time in charge at Celtic Park, sharing some of his fondest memories and paying special tribute to his former players in attendance, Stiliyan Petrov and Chris Sutton.

The formal proceedings were then rounded off by a live set from Celtic Park favourite, Liam McGrandles, who ensured the evening ended on a high.

Celtic FC Foundation Chief Executive, Tony Hamilton said: “The event was our fourth in London and it was another fantastic night, not only in raising funds for future delivery, but showcasing what the Foundation can do in London, Glasgow and further afield.

“The sum of money raised is a credit to the people who were in that room including sponsors, partners, former Celts, Club guests and the 10 London CSCs who were present.

“We would like to thank our event sponsor, Eland Cables, all table holders and guests, Ange Postecoglou, Martin O’Neill, Russell Watson, Stiliyan Petrov, Chris Sutton, Stephanie Drew, all those who donated prizes for the auctions and items for the gift bags, The Troubadours, Liam McGrandles and our host, Peter Martin.”

Thank you once again. Please don’t ever underestimate the difference you have made.