A Gala Dinner, in aid of the Kids Company, was held on Thursday 13 September in the Egyptian Hall at Mansion House. The winners of the Kids Company Art competition were announced and presented with their prizes. The evening was hosted by Mr Reza Beyad, Chair of the HSPA, and Dr Parmley, and was well-attended by parents, staff, pupils and some well-known celebrities.
Actress Gillian Anderson and TV presenter Kirsty Allsop assisted Reza in conducting an auction. Guests were able to bid on a range of items that included works of art by Damian Hirst, Anish Kapoor and Aisha Caan, a Smart Car and personal effects belonging to Old Harrodian Robert Pattinson, one of which was a signed leather jacket from the film Twilight. The Harrodian Band played for the guests during dinner and the Choir sang the National Anthem as well as performing three other songs, all to a very high standard.
There were also powerful speeches from the Lady Mayoress, Reza and the founder of the Kids Company, Camila Batmanghelidgh. In his passionate plea ‘to help children break the destructive cycle of violence that they are born in’, Reza implored the audience to challenge the very core of a system that creates such social black holes where many of these children just disappear’.
These sentiments were echoed by Camila when she urged the audience to make it their ‘collective responsibility to make sure every child in London has enough to eat’, and insisted that child poverty ‘is something we can solve as a society if we want to’. Feelings and emotions were stirred in the room and inspired generous auction bids as well as personal donations and pledges.
The Harrodian has been supporting Kids Company since 2007. Despite their life experiences being a world away from youngsters supported by the Kids Company, our pupils are renowned for their commitment to the community and desire to help the disadvantaged in society. This was demonstrated by their support throughout the fundraising process - from their participation in the Art Competition to their parents’ generous donations at the Gala Dinner.
Last year, Reza pledged to raise £100,000 for the Kids Company. It is a promise that has been kept and exceeded - the Gala Dinner alone raised in excess of £150,000. This is a phenomenal amount that will go a long way to helping those children of the Kids Company have a better life in the future.