A night less ordinary in aid of Norwood13 November 2019EventMore than 1,000 guests gathered for Norwood’s Annual Dinner, held at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Monday evening [11 November]. The evening, which had as its lead sponsor The Lord Leonard and Lady Estelle Wolfson Foundation, raised £3 million for the charity, which provides a lifeline to families in crisis and lifelong support to people with learning disabilities and autism.(C) Blake Ezra Photography 2019This annual extravaganza, which has become something of a highlight of the Jewish social calendar, celebrates and raises funds for Norwood’s life-transforming work in the community. This year, the event focused on how Norwood enables and encourages all of the people it supports to live “Extra-Ordinary Lives”.Speaking on that theme, the new chair of Norwood’s Annual Dinner committee, Orly Wolfson, welcomed the crowd and said: “For Norwood it is not enough to provide the minimum level of support. For Norwood it is all about providing the extras – and it is these extras that turn the ordinary into the Extra-Ordinary.”Nicola Mendelsohn CBE, the joint president of Norwood, added: “Most of us are fortunate enough to be able to take the ordinary things we do each day for granted. For people in distress or experiencing challenge, just doing the ‘ordinary’ things sometimes takes a little ‘extra’.” Mendelsohn then promised the room: “We will pursue excellence relentlessly. Our job is to get better – better facilities, better quality of care, better support for key staff and all while maximizing the development potential of all those in our services.”(C) Blake Ezra Photography 2019The evening’s guest speaker, Katie Piper, drew a standing ovation after speaking about her own “Extra-Ordinary” experience and how she learnt to “let go of the life that she had thought should happen and love the life that is actually happening”. She told the room how revisiting the scene of the crime against her – an acid attack in 2008 that took place in broad daylight on Golders Green Road – had helped her to turn her life around. “Something happened that day,” she said. “People gave me small smiles and I felt no discrimination and no judgement. That was the moment when I started to see my differences as my strengths.”(C) Blake Ezra Photography 2019The evening was brought to a close by a sensational musical medley performed by the Tony-winning musical actress Maria Friedman and fellow members of the cast of the recent smash hit production of Fiddler on the Roof.To view a gallery of pictures from the event, click here.