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December 2011 Over 350 guests enjoyed a champagne reception in the River Room followed by a fabulous dinner and dancing in the enchanting Lancaster Ballroom, in the iconic Savoy Hotel.
Guests were welcomed by IFGB Co-Chair Ruth McCarthy who was delighted to extend a special welcome to our celebrity and VIP guests including – Comedian and TV Presenter Graham Norton, former featherweight boxing champion Barry McGuigan, designers Orla Kiely and Paul Costelloe, and Irish Ambassador HE Bobby MacDonagh and his wife Mary.
Ruth introduced Kieran McLoughlin President and CEO of the worldwide Ireland Funds, he told guests of plans to strengthen relationships between the different Ireland Funds and in the same vein introduced a DVD of the Queen’s visit to Ireland earlier this year cementing the special relationship between Britain and Ireland.
Comedian and TV Presenter Graham Norton, who hails from Bandon in County Cork was awarded a special prize for his contribution to Irish Arts and Culture in the UK. He treated the guests to a hilarious account of his childhood in Bandon, where he always knew he was different…! How he felt at home the minute he got to London and how many years later he finds himself inexplicably drawn back to West Cork. He praised the work of the Ireland fund of Great Britain in continuing to raise funds and awareness in difficult economic times.
Grant Ford of Sotheby’s Auction House then hosted the live auction – the amazing lots included – a weekend in a Monaco villa once owned by Coco Chanel, a box at the Ireland v England rugby match on St Patrick’s Day and two tickets to the X Factor Live Final – which Louis Walsh turned up to personally deliver!! This event raised over £113,000 for Irish people in need in the UK.
Special thanks to headline sponsor – San Leon, champagne sponsor – DSM Demolition, Orla Kiely, Lir Chocolate, Jameson Whiskey, Conde Naste, Hodder & Stoughton and Niche Group.