PAC Launch, Dinner, Grand Auction and MOVEMBER Climax
Sat 30th Nov. 2013
For many a long year and and through many equally lengthy conversations Charlie Beardmore has tabled the motion of establishing a charity with the aim of raising funds for the fight against Cancer: his primary reason being that this particular nasty, has touched so many of the Penguin colony. The last of these great discussions was fittingly concluded in Italy last May: it was very much a tour filled with resolutions and wonderfully positive ideas for GHRFC, for the Penguins’ team and finally to end the talk and begin the long walk of establishing the charity: Penguins Against Cancer.
The launch date, we decided, was to coincide with the final day of MOVEMBER; we all agreed to spend that month growing facial hair, promoting a grand event and filling the Robens Suite at Guy’s with alumni, friends, wives, players and raffle-time prizes to make the corridors of HOP ring with pride. The aim of the evening was of course to launch our own Charity - Penguins Against Cancer - but also to raise awareness of Prostate & Testicular Cancer, as our first beneficiary and to raise as much money as possible.
The venue was packed and the atmosphere was fabulous. It was great to catch up with old friends and to see everyone having such fun. Crooning from Peter Savizon brought a touch of class to the entertainment during dinner and he packed the dance floor later on. The raffle tickets were flying out of the books thanks to generous donations from friends who were present and some who could not make the event: Dr Terry Gibson, Ben Prior, Paul Harwood, Mr Pete Davis, Dr Philip Cunnington who between them provided, fine wines, Hampers, a television and Blu-ray DVD player and the use of a ski Chalet. The generosity was overwhelming and reached even greater heights when we came to the auction items.
There was a silent auction running during the champagne reception which had some remarkable items on offer. Balloon rides and VIP outings to race meetings and concerts were popular but the most tempting turned out to be the fine dining experiences at Petrus, Maze and with various Michelin Chefs. There was indeed plenty for all tastes and judging by the number of participants as well as the bids, the items were of very high quality and extremely tempting. The aim was to raise money and everyone present did their utmost to support the cause and enter into the spirit of the occasion.
Charlie’s speech had something for everyone: a nod to the rugby fraternity, with special mention of The Oldest Rugby Club in the World; the link to Penguins old and new; reference to absent friends (supported by Chris Howell); the launch of PAC with suitable reasons and community connections and finally, an incomprehensible and somewhat surreal poem for the intellectuals on a higher plain. The climax was particularly appreciated by Jamie, whose expressions added visual guidance for the hard of hearing. Following the speech, the traditional toast and customary thanks to numerous supporting crew, came the main auction. This turned into a fitting tribute to everyone involved as the support and generosity was quite overwhelming.
Mick Martin secured a signed photo of Martin Johnson lifting the Webb Ellis Trophy, Paul Harwood & Charlie Gush bid for a Ski Chalet (one week in Morzine) and Simon Hughes successfully bid for a ’66 shirt and a signed photo of Jonny Wilkinson (dropping a goal in some match or other).
One deed among many, which typified the atmosphere and commitment to the event, was when Simon Hughes won a case of wine in the raffle, put it back into the auction and then bought it for £500. Thanks to Simon thanks to Charlie Beardmore for his inspiration and thanks to all the generous donors, sponsors and spenders that night. It was truly great fun and a tremendous springboard for PAC.