An Evening with Geoff Boycott in The Long Room at Lords

50,000 not out!

It is always a joy to be able to thank so many supporters for their fund raising efforts and to read all about their events. So I would like to share with you a selection of recent events which may inspire you to consider organising a CANCERactive fund raising activity in 2010.

On June 10th CANCERactive held a fundraising dinner at Lord’s Cricket ground in London with a very special guest, cricketing legend Geoffrey Boycott.

Geoffrey wanted to contribute to the charity in gratitude for the help Chris Woollams gave him when he was dealing with his cancer on the back of his tongue. He rarely speaks at events like this, so for the charity it was a real privilege to have him there.

From the very start of the evening, with guests arriving for the champagne reception to the very last moment when carriages were waiting, the atmosphere at the event was buzzing. There was that happy hubbub of a group of people who really seemed to be having a wonderful time.

The evening was held in the glorious Long Room at Lord’s, which overlooks the pitch and terraces and features many portraits of famous cricketers who have played there over the years. The venue was donated at cost by another person Chris helped, CEO of England cricket, Keith Bradshaw. But before the dinner began, guests - all dressed beautifully in black tie and evening dress - gathered for champagne on the terrace. We had a number of A-list guests, like Stephen Fry and Lord Sebastian Coe in attendance.

Then Master of Ceremonies, Chris Cowdrey called us all for dinner. Chris is a well-known former England cricketer himself and also son of Colin Cowdrey another big cricketing name of earlier years. He did a great job as MC, taking us all through the evening with humour and panache.

There were 204 guests in attendance the maximum the venue can hold seated at circular tables for ten or twelve people.

The dinner was fabulous smoked salmon to start and a duo of lamb for the main course. Passion fruit cheesecake, coffee and petit fours completed the menu.

During the meal and in between courses, Chris Cowdrey masterfully ran a silent auction of items as well as some fundraising games, which were great fun. The guests seemed to enter into the spirit of the evening with great gusto! And still the piece de resistance (Geoff Boycott) was yet to come.

Following more auctioning of some incredible items from a holiday in the Boycott’s home in South Africa to flights to Florida Janice Day, patron, chanteuse and raconteur entertained us, and read some hilarious excerpts from her book, Getting it off my Chest. While Janice performed, Geoffrey took five lucky bidders off to the England changing room for photographs with our official photographer.

Geoffrey was introduced by another England cricket legend MJK Smith. MJK was light hearted and in excellent form. When Geoffrey finally took to the lectern, he too was on brilliant form witty, hilarious, and with a great rapport with the audience. He answered questions posed by guests in the room in his usual direct and blunt manner and went well over his allotted time.

All in all it was a spectacular evening which raised over 50,000 for the charity. Many thanks to Geoffrey and to all who contributed in so many ways.

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