Norwood Annual Dinner Raises over £3.2m

12 November 2013

Norwood, one of the UK’s leading Jewish Charities raises £3.2m at its Annual Dinner last night. The star-studded event was attended by many celebrities, peers and civic dignitaries including, Sir Tom Jones, The RT Hon Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Education, Richard and Adam Johnson and Ashleigh Butler and Pudsey, stars of Britain’s Got Talent. Other well-known faces included, Sir Philip Green, Karren Brady and Vanessa Feltz. However, the true celebrities were the charity’s service users who stole the night, making the loyal toast, appeal speech and a high octane rock performance at the end of the evening.

Sponsored by SG Hambros, the event was attended by nearly 1,100 guests who donated much needed funds enabling Norwood to continue delivering its vital services to children and their families requiring support during challenging times, children with special education needs, and children and adults with learning disabilities, including Autistic Spectrum Condition and their families.

Carol Sopher, Norwood Honorary Life President and the Annual Dinner Chair, welcomed guests and thanked them for their continued support. She said: "I find it extremely heart-warming to see the depth of support we all have for Norwood and that you share my belief in the fantastic work our great charity does for the Jewish and wider community." She went on to say: "The more I see our services in action, the more I realise how much we achieve."

Operatic sensations Richard and Adam Johnson entertained guests with songs from their debut number one album, The Impossible Dream. Later in the evening Sir Tom Jones joined rock and roll band, The AutistiX, to perform a rousing rendition of the Beatles’ Help. Saul, the band’s drummer was featured in the film and despite his many disabilities, including autism, is able to joyously express himself through music.

The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Education, was the evening’s guest speaker. Praising Norwood, he said its work amongst children and families with learning disabilities was a great example for others to follow: "That’s the way we can ensure that Britain is great again and make sure that young people receive the support they need. Every life is special, every child has a spark within them that we need to nurture. That’s why Norwood is so special."

Norwood President, Richard Desmond expressed his gratitude to everyone for coming along to make the evening such a great success and said: "Thank you for making this room so full tonight. It’s great to see everybody here tonight and support such a worthwhile cause."

Rachelle Adler, resident in one of Norwood’s London homes made the toast to Her Majesty The Queen and following the appeal film, Laurence Black who has lived at Ravenswood for most of his life, highlighted at first hand the vital work carried out by the charity and said: "They have supported me to do the things that I love like taking part in the Special Olympics. It is thanks to Norwood that I have won many sporting medals. With your help this evening, Norwood can give more people the gift of a better life." Following this, Lawrence received a well-deserved standing ovation.

Chief Executive, Elaine Kerr spoke passionately about Norwood’s life changing Assistive Technology Programme that has been developed to enable people with learning disabilities to carry out tasks they would never have thought possible. In summing up the benefits of the programme, she said: "Assistive Technology gives people with very limited movement the ability to take control and make choices which you and I take for granted – like turning on a TV and choosing your TV programme and music. Now people don’t have to watch Arsenal when they’re Spurs supporters, or listen to Hip Hop when their passion is Classical music – they can change channels themselves."