Olympic skating star Jayne Torvill was special guest at the 16th anniversary seaside charity lunch organised by the Kent & East Sussex Lady Taverners at Eastbourne’s Grand Hotel.
The event raised £7,000 and also saw the official handover of a minibus for the Chailey Heritage Foundation near Lewes, purchased through money raised at previous lunches in the town and the support of Sussex solicitors Gaby Hardwicke, the main sponsors of the annual event.
The focus of the Lady Taverners’ is fundraising for specially adapted minibuses and sport and recreation facilities for young people with special needs.
The sell-out lunch attracted 220 ladies and businesswomen from Eastbourne and the surrounding area.
The event got off to a sparkling start with a drinks reception and the lunch featured a raffle and “The Flicks” tribute act.
Laura Collins, chairman of the Kent & Sussex Region, welcomed the guests, who also included Lady Taverners national chairman Carole Garner.
One of the country’s leading after dinner speakers Bob “The Cat” Bevan, who is also a trustee of the charity, was master of ceremonies and kept everyone entertained during the afternoon.
Laura said, “In our 30th anniversary year the theme of this year’s lunch is inspiration. I am amazed how far we have come from the first lunch with 60 ladies to what is now one of our major fundraising events.
“The focus has always been fundraising whilst having fun, and once again the lunch was a great success and the money raised will go a very long way to supporting our aims.”
She also thanked sponsors Gaby Hardwicke, Eastbourne-based wine merchants HT White & Co, which sponsored the drinks reception, the team from the Grand Hotel and local companies that donated more than 20 prizes for the raffle.
The Lady Taverners is the fundraising arm of the cricket charity and club the Lord’s Taverners, which is famous for its charitable giving. Founded in 1987, over the years the Lady Taverners has raised more than £12 million and built up a network of 25 regions with nearly 1,000 members throughout the UK.