Perennial’s Festival Dinner, held on 12th October, brought in over £36,000 for the charity that looks after everyone in the horticulture industry. The event took place at the five-star Langham Hotel in central London and was hosted by James Alexander Sinclair. The total raised was made up from ticket sales, event sponsorship and money from the auction and raffle.
The auction alone raised over £16,000 and included a choice of luxury lots, among which a week’s holiday for four in Tuscany attracted the highest bid. Other popular lots included a private dining experience for 12 at Roux at The Landau, a VIP cricket package at Lord’s and a spa break at Barnsley House.
Photos by Gavin Dickson, Lyric Weddings
The black tie event revived Perennial’s annual festival dinner, which was a tradition that dated right back to Perennial’s origins. Back in 1839 the Gardeners’ Benevolent Institution was founded at the inaugural dinner, attended by gardeners, nurserymen and wealthy estate owners. It became a prestigious annual fixture and during the 19th and early 20th centuries drew high society. In 1852, Charles Dickens presided over the ninth festival dinner and in 1867 it was the turn of Sir Robert Peel, founder of the modern police force.
Anita Bates, Director of Marketing and Fundraising at Perennial said: “We are thrilled to have revived the Perennial tradition of an annual Festival Dinner so thank you to everyone who attended, gave so generously and made it a spectacular evening. The funds raised will make a real difference in allowing us to continue to offer our services, which are a lifeline to those in need. We are already planning next year’s Festival Dinner which will celebrate the 180th anniversary of Perennial.”
The 2018 Perennial Festival Dinner was sponsored by the London College of Garden Design and the Landscape Show. Guests enjoyed entertainment from Simon Bates on saxophone and Harry the Piano. Flowers for the event were provided by Judith Blacklock Flower School and Agrumi provided topiary to dress the room. A cheque for over £19,000 was also presented on the night from the Great British Card Company for money raised for Perennial through sales of cards.
The 180th Anniversary Perennial Festival Dinner will take place on Friday 11th October 2019 at the Corinthia Hotel, London with special guest speaker Alan Titchmarsh, President of Perennial. Early bird tickets are already available here.