Generous gentlemen helped hit the mammoth £1million fundraising target at an annual Christmas charity lunch held at the Leeds Irish Centre.
The impressive achievement came when nearly 500 business people, largely from Irish construction firms in and around the city, gathered tocelebrate Christmas raising £137,000 for those less fortunate in their local community in the process.
The event, which also welcomes women, was sponsored by JCB for 2011, its 11th year.
Organised by a group of local Irish businessmen, the charity fundraiser smashed its target on the day by auctioning off more than 40 construction-
The £137,000 total raised at the lunch brings the charity’s overall fundraising sum to more than £1million and will see six local good causes receive an extra boost to support their services over the festive season. The beneficiaries include the d:side drug and health education programme for Leeds primary school children, which has operated in the city for more than 15 years.
The Candlelighters child cancer charity and Leeds Homeless charity will also receive donations.
A representative for the Leeds Gentleman’s Lunch organisation told The Irish Post: “We needed to raise £120,000 to meet the £1million and we were pretty confident with all the generous firms and businesspeople who come out to support the event that we could do it.
“So to raise £137,000 is fantastic — it’s been a great day and it’s a great amount of money which will help some really deserving local charities, which is what the event has always been about.” He added: “We think it’s a good model and is an event that the construction industry in cities across the country could easily do themselves, to provide that support for worthy causes in their own communities.”
The Irish Post joined the masses at the Leeds event, which welcomed snooker favourite Steve Davis as guest speaker and saw comic impressionist Kevin Connolly entertaining on the day.
During the course of the afternoon thousands of pounds were bid for a selection of auction items donated to the charity — among them the infamous one-gallon bottle of whiskey donated by the Leeds Irish Centre, which raised £35,000 alone. The coveted drop is auctioned numerous times every year, but is never supped or even opened as it’s always donated back to the charity.
Last Friday a total of 13 bidders, including The Irish Post, paid a range of sums for the prized bottle before handing it back to the auctioneer. The bottle has now raised a total of £385,000 at auction for the charity over its 11-year history.