Battle of the Atlantic Dinner on HMS Illustrious raises £180k for charity
A reception and dinner held on 9 May to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic raised more than £180,000 for two charities, Seafarers UK and the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity.
350 guests were welcomed onboard HMS Illustrious by Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Philip Jones for an evening that commenced with a champagne reception on deck to view a fly-past of a Fairey Swordfish, Catalina flying boat and naval helicopters, with stirring music played by the Portsmouth Royal Marines Band. You tube video of RNHF flypast.
The dinner took place in the main hangar with Merchant Navy and Royal Navy veterans from the Battle of the Atlantic present as VIP guests. HRH The Duke of York, KG, was the guest of honour. TV presenter and historian Dan Snow was the after-dinner speaker. Sponsored by Diageo’s Johnnie Walker whisky, the gala dinner featured a fundraising auction that raised £67,000. Prizes included a day at sea in a warship donated by The First Sea Lord.
Last year Seafarers UK gave out £2.5m in grants to support the delivery of welfare services to serving and ex-serving seafarers in need, and their families from across the Merchant Navy, Fishing Fleets and the Royal Navy. But last year's applications for welfare support funding for those seafarers in greatest difficulty was in total £2m more than the charity was able to respond to, and this gap is set to increase further in 2013.
HMS Illustrious was moored on the River Thames at Greenwich for the Royal Navy’s Battle of the Atlantic 70th anniversary events that included opening the ship to members of the public at the weekend.