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Charities to serve up a second helping of Ladies’ Lunch


3/22/2024 12:05:41 PM

Charity & Fundraising

4 mins read

Picture details from left: Tessa Wray of HEY Smile Foundation, auctioneer Caroline Hawley, Abigail Milner of Gosschalks, Natasha Barley of the Sailors’ Children’s Society, guest speaker Louise Minchin, Chris Walker of Summit Drive, event host Gemma Dawson of Look North.


Organisers of a new event which was created to promote women’s achievements and raise money for charities have already confirmed plans for a follow-up to build on their launch success.

The Sailors’ Children’s Society and HEY Smile Foundation raised £30,000 after costs from their inaugural Ladies’ Lunch.

Natasha Barley, CEO of the Society, said: “We have already received requests from people who took tables to repeat their reservations for next year. We’ve also heard from many of their guests who would like their businesses to attend next year’s event. We can’t wait for Ladies’ Lunch 2025. We’re planning already!”
Jamie Lewis, CEO of HEY Smile Foundation, said: “Our first Ladies’ Lunch was a huge success and a lot of fun. Smile Foundation is a trusted local partner, we really believe in collaboration and we are proud to be equal partners alongside Sailors’ Children's Society to create this new event. 
“Its success is down to the efforts of both charities working tirelessly together, mixed with an incredible guest list of some of the most inspirational and influential women across the region. I'm excited to see this event grow so we can offer even more support to local charities. “
A 300-strong audience mainly comprising businesswomen from across East Yorkshire joined broadcaster and author Louise Minchin at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Hull as she told of her ongoing passion for endurance sport and highlighted some of the subjects in her latest book – “Fearless: Adventures with extraordinary women”.
Natasha said: “Our charities are working work together to establish the Ladies’ Lunch alongside our hugely successful Sportsman’s Lunch, which will mark its 30th anniversary next year. 
“The Sportsman’s Lunch sells out instantly year on year. The room is packed with 700 men and women and we can’t squeeze any more people in so we decided to try a second event, one which puts the spotlight more on women. The stories of female courage and endeavour coupled with the reaction of the audience added up to the perfect launch for our new event.”
Tessa Wray, Head of Partnerships at HEY Smile Foundation said: “It’s hard to see how it could have gone any better. The Ladies’ Lunch attracted 300 people and, with Louise’s amazing stories of the trailblazing women she found for her book, and her passion to speak openly about the menopause, it absolutely smashed the brief of delivering a celebration of women, female empowerment and presenting an inspirational afternoon with women and men celebrating together.”

The total amount raised included more than £10,000 from an auction conducted by TV antiques expert Caroline Hawley, a well-known face on BBC’s Bargain Hunt and Flog It! and partner at Hawley’s Auctioneers of Beverley. Gemma Dawson from BBC Look North hosted the event.

Costs were kept to a minimum with support from The Seafarers' Charity as the headline sponsor for the lunch with Summit Drive – part of Motorlease UK – the main sponsor, and Gosschalks Solicitors and Be Brand the associate sponsors. 

Chris Walker, founder and managing director of Motorlease UK, said: “We were absolutely delighted to have been asked to be the main sponsor of the inaugural Ladies’ Luncheon, especially given the two charities which are involved. Although Summit Vans/Drive is a relatively new name in the automotive sector, our aim is to grow this business whilst delivering exceptional service to the local community. 
“We are lucky to have an amazing team of ladies within Summit and they couldn’t have been more complimentary of the afternoon’s events, especially Louise Minchin’s inspirational talk.
“The event was silky smooth with a wonderful vibe, and we cannot wait to see this event go from strength to strength whilst being directly involved. Huge congratulations must go to Natasha and Tessa for having the vision in pulling this event together and for delivering it in a totally professional and well executed manner".
Tessa said: “We want to say a huge thank you to everyone that supported the event by taking sponsorship, tables, inviting guests, donating raffle and auction prizes, or making donations on the day. Collectively, this enabled us to raise a staggering £30,000 after costs to support both our charities with their vital work helping children, families, and communities in need.”

To find out about the event and availability for next year, please contact:

Natasha Barley, CEO, Sailors Children’s Society natasha.barley@sailorschildren.org.uk

Tessa Wray, Head of Partnerships, HEY Smile Foundation tw@heysmilefoundation.org

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