Thursday night saw guests return to Celtic FC Foundation’s Annual Sporting Dinner for the first time in two years, with the Foundation having been unable to host the event in 2021, due to COVID restrictions.
Sponsored by David McDonald Financial Services, this flagship event in the Foundation’s fundraising calendar was once again a complete sell-out and an incredible net total of £100,000 was raised.
Having recently lost one of our greatest ever Celts and Foundation supporters in Bertie Auld and the subsequent passing of the legendary Wim Jansen, the main beneficiary of this year’s Dinner was Celtic FC Foundation’s work around dementia care.
The evening began with a tribute to Bertie, through a touching video piece showcasing his wonderful support of the Foundation, alongside some of his finest moments in the Hoops. Wim was also remembered in a poignant video later in the evening.
Host for the event Peter Martin then welcomed three members of the first team squad – club captain, Callum McGregor, Anthony Ralston and Jota – for a Q&A. Later in the evening, guests were also treated to a series of video messages of support from a host of players.
Following an overview piece, highlighting the work of the Foundation, Peter then welcomed our next very special guest, Celtic manager, Ange Postecoglou. The manager enthralled those in attendance, as he spoke of the strong connection he has built with the Club and its supporters, as well as his aspirations going forward.
Before leaving the Kerrydale to a rousing applause, Ange kindly provided a unique auction item, as he signed and donated one of his trademark jumpers.
Celtic chairman, Ian Bankier, then gave thanks on behalf of the Club, to all of those in attendance for their continued support of the Club’s charitable arm and said grace.
Following the three-course meal, Celtic FC Foundation’s Chief Executive, Tony Hamilton offered thanks to the long list of those who have contributed to event, before introducing another video piece, highlighting the Lions’ Lunch Break projects.
Since 2018, the Foundation have strived to improve the quality of life for those living with dementia, as well as endeavour to engage with and support their loved ones, who on many occasions have to take on the emotional and physical strain of becoming a full-time carer.
Peter Martin then took to the stage once again for the first half of the live auction, before hosting another magnificent Q&A session, featuring an outstanding trio of former Celts – Roy Aitken, Tosh McKinlay and Charlie Mulgrew. They each spoke of their love for the Club, with guests also enjoying some hilarious moments as they shared a selection of their greatest memories.
Just before the second half of the auction, guests heard from Ellen Lennon, who spoke of her husband Andy’s battle with dementia. Without a single note to hand, Ellen spoke from the heart, as she bravely told her own very personal story.
She spoke of the struggles that her family have faced due to this terrible illness and how the Foundation’s Lions’ Lunch Breaks project has been a vital support mechanism, when needed most.
The room was in total silence, other than Ellen’s powerful words, and she captured the hearts of everyone in the Kerrydale Suite, with guests providing a standing ovation as Ellen left the stage.
Peter Martin then rounded off proceedings with the remainder of the live auction and Prize Draw segments of the night, assisted by Celtic legend, Club Ambassador and Sporting Dinner Committee member, Tom Boyd. The evening also included a fantastic silent auction and a complimentary drink for each guest, courtesy of Magners, part of the C&C Group.
Celtic Chief Executive, Michael Nicholson, said: “I would like to thank everyone who made last night’s Dinner such a huge success.
“Once again, the event has delivered hugely important support to Celtic FC Foundation, which will allow us to extend our work in helping people in need, particularly those who attend our dementia care initiatives.
“It is fantastic to be able to have our supporters and partners back at Celtic Park, working with us to make a positive difference to the lives of others. Sincere thanks to everyone who supported this great event.”
Celtic FC Foundation Chief Executive, Tony Hamilton, added: “It was wonderful to be back last night at Celtic Park for our Annual Sporting Dinner, having had such a long wait. The fact that the event was a sell-out once more is testament to the incredible and continued support from so many.
“We were thrilled to be able to welcome guests once again and it was evident from the buzz in the room that they were delighted to be back. Yet again, our contributors, including our sponsor, David McDonald Financial Services, individuals, organisations, Club staff and Club Directors, have stepped up and provided immense backing.
“A huge thanks to each and every one of them, and a special mention goes out to our Annual Sporting Dinner Committee, who’ve worked tirelessly for months to help bring this event together.”
The phenomenal support received from David McDonald Financial Services, Ange Postecoglou and the first team squad, our table holders, guests, auction and silent auction bidders, prize donors, print donor Bell & Bain and all of those who gave up their time, will make an enormous difference to the lives of so many.
Thank you for your magnificent support.
To register your interest in our 2023 Annual Sporting Dinner, please email [email protected] or call 0141 551 4321.