Shining a light on literacy – Our Annual Gala Dinner
10 October, 2017
What do Brand South Africa’s Pumela Salela, brilliant wit and satirist Rory Bremner, De Beers’ CEO Bruce Cleaver and Bonham’s Giles Peppiatt have in common?
They all participated in last night’s second help2read “ Shine A Light on Literacy” Gala Dinner at the historic Livery Hall of the Worshipful Company of Vintners, a glittering, fun and purposeful evening that achieved a significant result.
Thanks to the Brenley Trust, Linklaters and the Lockwood Charitable Foundation, a hugely generous challenge grant raised over £100,000 for literacy promotion in South Africa. A stunning array of auction lots, generously gifted by awesome artists, fabulous designers, winning writers, wines and conservation lodges, completed the fundraising effort made possible only by the generous participation of the “Great and Good”. help2read’s South African leadership team, currently engaged in a learning share with UK sister charity Beanstalk, were present and able to give guests a firsthand account of the stories of success we have witnessed in the past year.
Welcoming guests to the evening, Pumela highlighted how the work that help2read, its volunteer reading helpers and young literacy tutors were undertaking in South Africa’s communities was in keeping with the spirit of Nelson Mandela, giving thousands of children the gift of literacy and making sure that their most powerful weapon could indeed be their education. Launching help2read’s new video showcasing the impact of its Literacy Tutor programme, Bruce Cleaver highlighted the critical importance of literacy as a foundational skill, one that is essential for effective education, robust democracy and productive peace and stability. Funny-man Rory Bremner reiterated the message saying that it was definitely not fake news as he urged guests to give generously.
A drinks reception with great South African wine donated by none other than Leopard’s Leap Vineyard was followed by a superb three-course meal crafted by Searcys. The silent auction kept guests bidding during the entire evening helped along by Givergy’s addictive bidding tool and a beautiful catalogue of lots kindly produced by Leopard Print. Giving was aided by a hysterically funny Rory Bremner who took a moment to talk more seriously – but just for a moment before having guests in stitches with his impressions of notable figures like Trump, Johnson and even Mandela himself. It was during the live auction that bidding frenzy lead by the very experienced and talented Giles Peppiatt of Bonhams reached its peak and the competition for exclusive auction lots on show throughout.
Altogether the evening was a wonderful success for our work – building support, showcasing impact and, importantly ensuring that we can continue to develop our community literacy tutor programme, increasing literacy and a love of reading in township children and employability and entrepreneurial skills of township youth.
We would like to take this opportunity to once again thank everyone who attended and contributed to such a delightful evening and thank you all for your continued loyalty and support. Additionally, we would like to personally thank our sponsors, lot donors and the team of volunteers for all of their hard work and generosity in putting this event together.
In closing Alex Moss, founder and chairman of help2read, himself an original Beanstalk reading helper, likened his catalytic role in establishing help2read to the role of the first rocket booster on a spaceship. He noted that his job of launching seemed now well and truly fulfilled and was delighted to see the next generation of supporters leadership and activity that was maintaining that upward journey.
Registered SA Non-Profit 063-979 PBO 930027054 UK Charity Reg No. 1109567 Registered Office: Oak Farm Cottage, Mill Street, Gislingham, Suffolk, IP23 8JT