THURSDAY night saw Celtic FC Foundation host its Annual Sporting Dinner, a flagship event in our fundraising calendar, at Celtic Park’s Kerrydale Suite. Sponsored for the second year in-a-row by IBC Wealth – the sell-out event raised a tremendous total of almost £100k.
Peter Martin was once again the host for the evening, which kicked off with a video piece providing an overview of the Foundation’s work. Peter then hosted a Q&A with three members of the men’s first team squad – Leigh Griffiths, Jeremie Frimpong and Christopher Jullien – as well as women’s team captain, Kelly Clark.
Later in the evening, guests were treated to a wonderful video piece showcasing further messages of support from the rest of the first team squad.
Celtic Chairman, Ian Bankier, then gave thanks on behalf of the Club, to all of those in attendance, as well as everyone involved the organisation of the Dinner.
Following the three-course meal, Peter Martin took to the stage once again, this time to host another magnificent Q&A session, featuring Celtic manager, Neil Lennon and two of his former teammates, Stiliyan Petrov and Johan Mjällby. The trio shared special memories from their time at the Club and the sense of friendship, unity, respect and camaraderie was evident for all to see.
This was emphasised further as they talked about the personal health battles faced with great courage by Stiliyan and John Hartson and the coming together of the boys to support each other. Special mention was also given to Jackie McNamara as the trio praised his fighting spirit following a recent illness.
The three legends then talked about the special nature of the team they played in together and the fantastic achievements and experiences along the way. All three reminisced about the 2002/03 UEFA Cup run, highlighting that special night in Liverpool when we were written off by so many and the pride and pain associated with the Final in Seville.
Both Johan and Stiliyan were also keen to praise Neil’s achievements as Celtic manager, across his two spells in charge of the Club, as they continue to support him and the club as we strive for continued success.
Celtic FC Foundation’s Chief Executive, Tony Hamilton then addressed the room, providing a vote of thanks, before introducing a video piece highlighting Celtic FC Foundation’s latest project, You’ll Never Talk Alone. The project is striving to tackle the growing issue of loneliness and its impact upon our mental health. Proceeds raised during last night’s Dinner will be devoted to the continuation and development of the project.
Andy Cameron, who has supported our Annual Sporting Dinner for a number of years, returned to entertain guests by hosting the auction and prize draw sections of the evening, in his own inimitable style.
Just before the second half of the auction, guests heard from Stephanie Drew, whose son, Sean has participated in a number of Celtic FC Foundation projects, including You’ll Never Talk Alone. Sean, aged 21, is currently living with an unknown degenerative brain condition. Stephanie bravely told the story of how Sean’s condition has drastically changed not only his life, but the lives of their family too.
She spoke of how Sean’s involvement with Celtic FC Foundation has brought him and the family many moments of genuine joy and expressed her great thanks for the support received. Stephanie’s story was one which captured the hearts of the entire audience and she received a deserved standing ovation from the entre room, as she left the stage.
The evening also included a fantastic silent auction and a complimentary drink for each guest, courtesy of C&C Group.
Celtic Chief Executive, Peter Lawwell, said: “This year’s Annual Sporting Dinner has yet again proved to be a wonderful occasion here at Celtic Park, raising invaluable funds for the Foundation. I must express our great thanks to all of those who attended the Dinner and to everyone who has made a contribution to the success of this event.
“You’ll Never Talk Alone is a relatively new Foundation initiative, however, I know that the project has already had a hugely positive impact on the lives of many people who have attended the project thus far. The funds raised last night will go a long way towards ensuring that the project continues to help those in need.”
Celtic FC Foundation Chief Executive, Tony Hamilton added: “Our Dinner last night represented another very successful event for Celtic FC Foundation. The continued support received for our Annual Sporting Dinner is truly exceptional. Every year our contributors, including our sponsor, IBC Wealth, individuals, organisations, Club staff and Club Directors, get behind the event.
“I would like to extend special thanks to all of them and, especially the Annual Sporting Dinner Committee, without whom, we simply could not have produced such a special occasion and raised such an incredible sum, in support of You’ll Never Talk Alone.”
The outstanding backing received from IBC Wealth, our table holders, guests, auction and silent auction bidders, prize donors and all of those who gave up their time, will make a genuine difference to the lives of others.
To register your interest in our 2021 Annual Sporting Dinner, please email [email protected] or call 0141 551 4321.