Jonathan Ross and Michael McIntyre were among the star-studded line-up who helped Norwood to raise what is on course to be a record amount of money from their virtual 225th anniversary dinner last night.
A record-breaking number of more than 5,000 people from across the world tuned in to watch the dinner, where viewers were shown first-hand the impact of Norwood’s work on three young people and their families who have benefited from the charity’s support.
Without the opportunity to gather in person to celebrate the charity’s work, Norwood “reimagined” their annual dinner, making it virtual for the first time, with host Jonathan Ross starting the evening by introducing the guest line-up, over a salt-beef sandwich.
Jonathan Ross told viewers that “donations are more important than ever” during the coronavirus pandemic. Ross became involved with Norwood after seeing Talya, the eldest daughter of Norwood’s CEO Dr Beverley Jacobson, cycling past his house, signing at the top of her voice on her tricycle, during lockdown in May.
Talya has mild quadriplegic cerebral palsy, learning disabilities and a severe visual impairment – and Ross was so impressed with her determination that he instantly agreed to host the dinner and has since donated the winnings from his appearance on ITV’s The Chase Celebrity Special to Norwood.
Singer Craig David, who performed during the evening, also has a link to Norwood, after meeting a group of the charity’s supporters and service users on a cycling fundraiser in South Africa, while he was on tour. On his return from Cape Town he played an exclusive show in London to raise funds for Norwood.
The event also featured contributions from Lulu, Dame Darcey Bussell, Michael McIntyre, Lewis Capaldi, Natasha Kaplinsky, Robert Rinder, Katie Piper and Strictly’s Aljaz and Janette.
Comedian Michael McIntyre said: “I am supporting Norwood, a very fine and wonderful charity… I hope you all have a lovely evening, credit to everybody running, let’s hope you can still raise as much money as possible.”
— Norwood – Charity (@norwooduk) November 9, 2020
Singer Lewis Capaldi who performed for viewers added: “I’m very, very happy to be involved in this Norwood event. What they do is incredible so be sure to donate as much as you can.”
Judge Robert Rinder said it was “a privilege” to meet Joe, who was helped by Norwood, for a socially distanced chat, in which he said “a massive than you” to the Norwood teams, “for giving me hope”.
Ahead of the event, the charity’s Patron, Her Majesty the Queen, sent a message of support, saying: “On the occasion of your 225th anniversary, I send my warm good wishes to Norwood’s beneficiaries, staff and all those associated with the charity.
“As your Patron, I am well aware of Norwood’s long association with The Royal Family, and of your continued important work in providing support and care to individuals and families experiencing difficult times.
“I wish you all an enjoyable and memorable Virtual Dinner event this evening, as you celebrate this significant milestone in the history of Norwood.”
Dr Jacobson said that in a challenging year, Norwood worked hard to ensure the safety of their staff and the people they support, adding that they “had to think more innovatively about how we can fundraise online to make our services sustainable in such tough economic times.
“We are incredibly proud of our achievement which ensures that we stand out in a crowded marketplace while demonstrating what can be achieved through belief, passion and commitment.”
Chair of the virtual fundraising dinner, Orly Wolfson, said: “When we started this journey we had no idea how it would all work out as none of us had ever done anything like it before. Thanks to my amazing committee, the dedicated team at Norwood and all the companies who made our dream a reality – we exceeded all my expectations with more than 5,000 people joining us from around the world for the most fantastic event. It looks as if we will match last year’s fundraising total as well, which is credit to all our wonderful supporters.”
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