IT was a night which showcased what we do.
Our annual dinner played out in front of a packed Legends Lounge at the Riverside Stadium as businesses and the general public rubbed shoulders, listening to inspiring stories and enjoying fantastic food and wonderful service from Middlesbrough Football Club’s young and enthusiastic catering team.
After being entertained by an excellent harpist and equally excellent magician, the event began with a dance display from youngsters who are part of our projects performing a routine choreographed by the Foundation’s Abigail Bryan and Rachael McKinnell. The group were made up from the dance schools of Dance Wise Performing Arts, Stardust Dance and Stagestruck Dance.
On a night where inspiration was the theme, the room heard from guest speaker Marrie Wieczorek and her journey from playing football on the streets of Middlesbrough to being the first lady from the town to represent her country on the international stage and how she needed time off work and a National Express bus to get to her first England game.
A young man called Tyler Jefferson was named Participant of the Year. Working with our Premier League Kicks Targeted team and former world champion boxer Stuart Hall, he has turned his life around from being criminally exploited in the drugs world to having a bright future.
Project of the year went to FIT BORO. The unique mental and physical wellbeing fitness programme played out on the concourses of the Riverside and in East Cleveland, beat off stern competition from Premier League Kicks and our Dementia Friendly project.
Our thanks go to headline sponsor Vistech, programme sponsor Middlesbrough College, drinks sponsor Cornerstone and auction sponsor Host and Stay.
Thanks also to everyone to attended, who bought a ticket for an envelope draw for which there were three fantastic prizes. Host and Stay donated a one night stay in a luxury apartment, Abbey Nook on the edge of Whitby. The Boro donated and overnight stay at Rockliffe Hall and a tour of the training ground, while a luxurious Betty’s hamper was kindly donated by Joslin Rhodes.
An online auction proved hugely popular with a dozen items up for grabs, while a live auction in the room brought successful bids for a Sunday stay for two at The Penthouse at Hudson’s Yard House in Whitby (Host and Stay), a three-course meal for 8 people with a £300 bar bill included in the Group Industrial UK hospitality box at the Riverside for the Boro v Stoke game in March (Group Industrial UK Ltd.), mascot for a Boro game (Middlesbrough Football Club), a taster menu experience with MasterChef the Professionals Chef Matei Baran, (Chef Matei) and a signed artwork canvas depicting Boro shirts from from 1974 to 2020 (Terry Kneeshaw).
The money raised on the evening will help us continue to work with the communities of Teesside, to help those most in need and often most vulnerable, across all ages.
Thank you to everyone who played a part.