Saints Foundation's charity dinner smashed its own record to bring in more than £130,000, to help the charity continue its important work in the local community.
After a forced break of two years due to the pandemic, Saints Foundation's charity dinner returned in style to St Mary's Stadium last Thursday (28 April). Guests included the Saints manager Ralph Hasenhüttl, captain James Ward-Prowse and the club's new majority owner, Dragan Šolak, who flew in from Serbia to attend.
The dinner continued the season-long celebration of Saints Foundation’s 20th anniversary, with participants from across the charity’s two-decade history sharing their inspirational journeys with guests through hard-hitting films and on-stage interviews. Fundraising efforts included a live auction where one lucky bidder won a free-kick masterclass from the Saints skipper James Ward-Prowse – personally donated by Ward-Prowse himself, who is an ambassador for the charity.
Fellow Foundation ambassador Kenzie Benali hosted the evening alongside comedian Tom Deacon. First Team Managers Ralph Hasenhüttl and Marieanne Spacey-Cale showed the club’s support alongside Ward-Prowse and fellow players Oriol Romeu, Jack Stephens, Kayla Rendell and Phoebe Williams. Šolak’s fellow owners Katharina Liebherr and Sport Republic Chairman Henrik Kraft were also in attendance.
Thanks to the fundraising efforts and the support of headline partners Inland Homes, Gather & Gather and Ridon Joinery, the whopping total at the end of the evening reached £122,000. Further donations have since pushed the final total up to an incredible £130,652 – a more than £30,000 increase on the previous Saints Foundation charity dinner, held in February 2020.
The record-breaking total includes generous donations from Southampton FC and its owners, including from Dragan Šolak, who donated over £20,000 to match fundraising from the live auction.
Greg Baker, Head of Saints Foundation, said: “We are blown away by the generosity of everyone who attended this year’s charity dinner.
“It feels even more special to hit such an incredible total in a season where we are celebrating 20 years of Saints Foundation making a difference here in Southampton. We’re proud to use the power and passion of our club to transform the lives of people of all ages and abilities; if there is a need, we strive to help.
“This incredible total will help us sustain our important work, ensuring our charitable projects can continue to change lives across the city. I’d like to say a huge thank you to all our guests for their generosity, and to our event partners, without whom this event could not take place.
“Particular thanks also to Dragan Šolak, for taking the time to find out more about our work and for his extremely generous donation; and to Southampton Football Club, who continue to back us every step of the way to make a real difference in our city.”
In addition to headline partners Inland Homes, Gather & Gather and Ridon Joinery, Saints Foundation’s charity dinner was also supported by local businesses Mayflower Theatre, Grumpy Monkey, Inprint, Elmtree Signs and Whitehype.
Saints Foundation is celebrating its 20th anniversary throughout the 2021/22 season. Find out more about two decades of its life-changing impact here in Southampton by taking a look at 20 incredible stories of the inspirational participants, staff and fundraisers who they've worked with over the last 20 years: