Thursday 1 November 2018 saw over 300 guests attend the City Veterans’ Network fourth annual gala dinner at the Imperial War Museum, in London.
This year’s dinner, in the Centenary of the end of the Great War, brought together serving and retired members of the Armed Forces, with representatives from City of London firms and institutions and a number of celebrities, to raise funds for three charities that support Veterans: Blesma, The Not Forgotten Association and The Royal Foundation.
Welcoming guests, City Veterans’ Network Chairman and Founder, Tom Isaac, himself a Veteran and now EMEA Head of Corporate Banking at Citi, highlighted the longstanding links between the Armed Forces and the City of London.
Mr Isaac praised the support that the Financial Services industry continues to give to Veterans and Reservists, both in work and in life, through employment opportunities and its generosity to Veterans’ charities.
Greeted by a resplendent Guard of Honour provided by the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, guests were treated to a gin reception, courtesy of Halewood, sporting some of the country’s finest artisanal gins and once they were seated, by a stunning performance from soprano, Alicia Lowes and music from the excellent band of The Royal Yeomanry.
Actor and Veteran, Darren “Swifty” Swift, who lost both legs in an IRA bomb blast in 1991, while serving with the Army’s Dog Unit in Belfast, gave a moving speech about his road to recovery and how he is using his story to inspire and motivate others in a project devised by Blesma, where injured servicemen and women deliver talks to schools about overcoming adversity.
Over dinner, guests were led through the charity auction by Lord Jeffrey Archer, with lucky bidders heading off to hurtle down the Cresta Run in St Moritz, assault beaches with the Royal Marines and fly in historic aircraft as a part of the Armistice Fly-past, amongst other matchless experiences. The superb wines were generously donated by Justerini & Brooks.
The evening raised over £100,000 for the three Veterans’ charities.