HUNDREDS of people from the automotive world raised £102,000 for the charity Ben at its annual Christmas ball.
The event took place at the Grosvenor House hotel in London, where around 700 guests were hosted by Ben’s chief executive, Zara Ross, and president, Peter Johnson, for an evening of entertainment that included tribute act Björn Again performing the greatest hits of Abba to the packed ballroom.
Ross, pictured on stage, said: ‘The Ben Ball is our most important event of the year. This is not only because it allows us to raise vital funds so we can continue to provide life-changing support for our automotive colleagues, but also because it gives us an opportunity to further develop relationships with the industry.
‘It also demonstrates how we work with businesses to support their people – the lifeblood of our industry. Thank you to everyone who has made this year’s Ben Ball so successful. We greatly appreciate your generous donations and support.’
During the evening, it was announced that Ben’s 2018 Industry Leader Challenge raised £215,755. The Lookers Electric Charge involved chief executive Andy Bruce and his team driving across the UK and Ireland in electric vehicles, visiting every one of the company’s dealerships.
Bruce passed on the challenge baton to three senior industry leaders: Volvo Car UK managing director Jon Wakefield, Allianz Partners UK and Ireland chief executive Tim Tozer and Group 1 Automotive managing director Darren Guiver. The trio will be cycling 166 miles down the Thames from source to sea on a self-propelled water bike.
Speaking about this year’s challenge, Bruce said: ‘We had so much fun taking part alongside so many Lookers colleagues, and at the same time managed to raise a significant sum of money that will help change the lives of people in our industry. Now that I have passed on the baton, I hope our successors enjoy it as much as we did and raise even more funds for a worthwhile cause.’
The total amount raised at the ball was aided by an auction that included prizes donated by companies within the industry. The highest earner was a Volvo XC40 T4 SUV, which achieved a winning bid of £44,000, followed by a Monte Carlo road rally prize, which raised £22,000, and a Cowes Week Regatta Race trip courtesy of Sunsail, which raised £3,800.