The Duke of Cambridge praised the 1,500 guests at Jewish Care’s 25th anniversary annual campaign dinner for their role in supporting older and vulnerable members of the community commenting;
“The results of your commitment to one another within the Jewish community are obvious – the real and loving care that thousands of elderly and vulnerable people receive, among the many works that you carry out”.
“Your care for one another has another less tangible value. During a year when many in the Jewish community have had cause to feel under threat, for no reason other than simply the fact of your Jewishness, your unity is all the more precious. Your commitment and loyalty to one another, and to society mode widely, is ultimately what keeps you strong.”
Before delivering his speech The Duke spent time meeting Jewish Care clients, staff, volunteers and supporters.
Crouching down to her wheelchair he chatted to 101 year old Dolly Conway, a resident in Jewish Care’s Rosetrees Care home. “He was so lovely” said Dolly, “I told him the Princess looked like him and he smiled”.
Jewish Care Edgware and Harrow Day Centre member Sid Nathan a 92 year old former boxer and boxing referee and the Prince talked about their shared passion for boxing before discussing the important role Jewish Care plays in Sid’s life.
Sid married his childhood sweetheart Lillian, whom he met at a dance when they were just 16, and had been married to her for 66 years when she passed away eight years ago.
Five years ago, Sid started attending one of Jewish Care’s day centre’s to help ease the loneliness and says his thrice-weekly visits have given him a lifeline.
‘Without all my friends at the day centre I’d be alone all day staring at four walls. I couldn’t live without it,’ he says.
The event was The Duke’s first engagement in the Jewish Community and one of his first public appearances since the birth of his daughter, Princess Charlotte. He was welcomed into the event by a surprise performance of Hello from international artist Lionel Richie who later performed for 30 minutes closing the organisation’s most successful event to date.
The dinner sponsorship from Investec along with the entertainment, provided by Lionel Richie at no cost to the organisation, will ensure that the record breaking £5.1 million raised on the evening will go directly to provide much needed social care services for the community.
Emotions ran high as guests watched a powerful film that told the stories of three clients the organisation supports; 92 year old Sid, Holocaust Survivor Hedi and the Baddiel brothers who are being supported by the organisations family carers’ team.
Introducing the film, Jewish Care, Campaign Dinner Chair and Trustee Nicola Loftus said;
“In total we help over 7,000 people and their families every week and within the next 5 years we expect to be helping 10,000, largely because we are an aging community, and so much of what we provide is not funded by government. It is hard to visualise the numbers and it’s easy to forget that behind every number is a life – a person – with a story to tell.”
The organisations President Lord Levy talked about his pride in seeing the organisation evolve over the past 25 years and thanked the guests for enabling it;
“To everyone in this room tonight and all our donors and supporters, you have provided the resources to make this all possible. The dream of Jewish Care 25 years ago is an amazing reality of love and care for our community and we are just 25 years young with an even more exciting future. I salute everyone who has made this dream possible but we have to move forward and continue to give the very best to the many thousands of the most vulnerable in our community.”
Speaking after the event Steven Lewis, Chairman of Jewish Care said;
“I am immensely proud to be the Chairman of Jewish Care, an organisation that provides a lifeline to thousands of people each week. Tonight was a wonderful event but as Chairman of an organisation that needs to raise £15million each year just to keep alive, for me the success of the evening can be measured by our fundraising efforts. I am delighted to announce that thanks to the generosity of our supporters we raised a staggering £5.1 million. This is a fantastic start towards our annual £15 million fundraising target, money that is needed to ensure we can continued to provide much needed services across the community”.