Benevolent Ball guests donated £13,500 inside 10 minutes during a so-called ‘power pledge’ initiative led by the charity’s master of ceremonies, Charles Metcalfe.
That pushed the total for this year’s event up to £50,000, said The Benevolent, which thanked the 430 drinks industry members who attended.
Guests sipped Laurent-Perrier, Louis Roederer, Moët et Chandon and Taittinger Champagnes in the Natural History Muesum’s ‘Fossil Way’ before sitting for dinner in the Hintze Hall, beneath a 25-metre skeleton of a blue whale that is suspended from the room’s ceiling.
A new fundraising campaign using the tagline ‘it could be me’ was launched at the ball by Benevolent chairman Michael Saunders.
He asked guests to consider sparing ‘a drink a month’ for the charity, which referenced a £5 pint of beer or a £10 glass of wine.
After dinner, guests packed the dancefloor and drank cocktails at the Aperol Spritz and Mayfiled Sussex Hop Gin bar.
‘I am delighted with the amount that we have raised,’ said Saunders.
‘Please know that every penny will go towards helping those in our drinks industry community who are suffering financial and emotional hardship at this time.’
The charity thanked its main sponsors for the evening: Diageo GB; IWSC group; JF Hillebrand; Matthew Clark; Mayfield Sussex Hop Gin; Pernod Ricard UK; and William Grant & Sons.
The Benevolent was founded in 1886 to help drinks industry members facing health and financial difficulties, as well as issues at work or at home generally.