Last night the Bickley Restaurant in Chislehurst played host to the latest in a series of fundraising dinners held to raise £30,000 to purchase a minibus for the Charlton Upbeats, a project for young people with Down’s syndrome, run by the Trust.
David and Vanessa Gold were the guest speakers last night and were a big hit with the packed audience.
Trust Vice Chairman Peter Varney, said, ‘It was a brilliant evening and David and Vanessa were informative and witty and you could tell how much the audience enjoyed listening to them so much so that we overran. I can’t thank them enough for giving up their time to support the Upbeats. We are also grateful to Dickie Davis of Sky Sports for compering the event and Terry Pullen of The Bickley for helping us take a giant step to the £30k target. I must also thank David Huntley who made a donation of £5,000 on the night on behalf of the West Kent Freemasons added to the fund.’
The sum raised now stands at some £27,000 and The Bickley and the Trust are in touching distance of the £30,000 target. Last night’s events followed previous successful evenings with Alan Curbishley and Damon Hill.
Up for grabs on the evening was a signed West Ham FC squad picture, which sold for £700, along with three signed David Gold autobiographies, which raised a further £600 for the minibus fund. For the evening’s prize draw, attendees were asked to donate £5, £10 or £20 notes and write their name on it, with the winner picked at random splitting the proceeds with the Upbeats. £575 was raised in total, as winner Jill Humphreys donated back the amount she won to the Down’s syndrome project.
Speaking about life as a youngster, David Gold said, ‘I played for West Ham FC as a kid. I was offered a contract to sign as a professional but my dad wouldn’t sign the papers. You can’t have it all in life and sometimes things happen for a reason. I don’t regret anything; I’ve had a fantastic life.’
When asked why he bought West Ham United FC, given its bad financial state at the time, David responded, ‘You do things for the club you love, whether that be West Ham, Charlton or whoever, but we ran Birmingham City FC as a business and eventually sold it for £82m.
‘My daughter Vanessa and I are delighted to help to support The Bickley’s fundraising efforts in raising £30,000 to purchase a minibus for the Charlton Upbeats and hope we have helped all those involved move closer to reaching their target.’