Posted on Thursday 10 November 2022

in News

Bereaved Mum thanks gala guests for raising over £250,000

This year’s annual fundraising gala A Very British Affair raised £255,000 for Young Lives vs Cancer.

The gala was hosted by the charity’s Vice President and TV personality Jake Humphrey and Rian Harvey, who was supported by the charity when he was diagnosed with leukaemia at just 14. Money raised will fund the charity’s specialist social workers who offer young people and families financial, practical and emotional support.

A Very British Affair is an annual gala organised by a committee of dedicated supporters of the charity. Members include charity Vice Presidents, and co-chairs, Lucy Butcher and Harriet Humphrey.

Guests gave generously throughout the night, raising over £250,000. The committee have now raised £955,000 in total over the past three annual events.

Hosts Jake Humphrey and Rian Harvey. Photo credit: Elizabeth Keates

Donations were raised through a silent auction, live auction and live pledges. The auction included items such as boxing session with Ricky Hatton, an experience at Boodles the jewellers and live painting by Ben Mosley.

While enjoying their three-course dinner at Claridge’s, guests were treated to a full line-up of entertainment, including magician Ben Hanlin and the Dixon Brothers.

The money raised from this year’s event will go towards funding the charity’s specialist social workers who support young people with cancer and families from the moment of diagnosis. They help families face everything cancer throws at them including liaising with schools and employers, helping to access grants and benefits to help with the costs cancer brings and being a reassuring, listening ear when times are tough.

During the evening, Kathy Walshe, a Young Lives vs Cancer social worker, was invited on stage by host Jake Humphrey to share more about her role and how she supports young people and their families.

Jake on stage with George's Mum, Sam, and his social worker, Kathy. Photo credit: Elizabeth Keates

One young person she supported was George, who sadly died last year after being diagnosed with oesophageal cancer at just 19 in June 2019. After going through months of treatment, he received the news in June 2020 that the cancer had returned. Due to the pandemic, he received the news alone, away from home, and had to go in for treatment on his own.

A video sharing his story was played to the event’s guests before his Mum, Samantha, was invited up on stage. In an emotional moment she spoke with Jake about her late son and how they had been supported by the charity.

Four of George’s fellow musical theatre class mates from SLP College in Leeds came on to the stage to perform two of George’s favourite songs; ‘Who I’d be’ from Shrek the Musical and ‘When you believe’ from The Prince of Egypt. George’s music teacher Glyn Kerslake had directed the performance as a tribute to his late student.

George's classmates singing at the fundraising gala. Photo credit: Elizabeth Keates

Vice-President of Young Lives vs Cancer, Jake Humphrey said: “It’s an absolute privilege to have hosted this amazing event for Young Lives vs Cancer alongside Rian. My wife and I have been a part of many events for the charity including A Very British Affair for over eight years and we have helped to raise over £2m so far, and counting!

“Being able to speak to George’s Mum and help continue his legacy was a very special moment, and to hear how much of a support their social worker was it is clear how incredibly vital the charity’s work is. The money raised from this evening will go on to help many young people and families, like George’s.”

Chief Executive at Young Lives vs Cancer, Rachel Kirby-Rider said: “Thank you to everyone who came to this year’s gala and helped to raise an incredible £255,000 for Young Lives vs Cancer. The money raised will go on to help so many families across the UK to get the help they need from our specialist social workers, which help keep families together at the toughest of times.

“I would also like to say a massive thank you to our A Very British Affair committee and co-chairs Lucy and Harriet for organising such a special night, to our hosts Jake and Rian and to George’s family, Kathy and his classmates for highlighting just how vital the support of Young Lives vs Cancer is to young people and families facing cancer.”

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