World Cup sporting lunch is a winner for local children’s charity

A special event for Sussex-based children’s charity Rockinghorse saw hundreds of Sussex businesses raise over £38,000 at the fundraising lunch in celebration of the 50th anniversary of England’s World Cup win.

The ‘Best of British’ sporting lunch was held at The Grand hotel Brighton last week (Friday 3 June) the sell-out event played host to almost 500 guests from businesses across Sussex for the 1966 World Cup special, sponsored by Mayo Wynne Baxter.

Gordon Banks OBE, goalkeeper of the winning 1966 World Cup England team had been due to appear at the lunch, but was sadly unable to attend due to last minute health reasons. In his stead, the event welcomed his 1966 team mate, hat-trick scoring hero Sir Geoff Hurst, who entertained guests with his World Cup winning story.

Ryan Heal (CEO Rockinghorse) Scott Gair (Partner Mayo Wynne Baxter) Sir Geoff Hurst and Jason Edge (Marketing Director Mayo Wynne Baxter)
Ryan Heal (CEO Rockinghorse) Scott Gair (Partner Mayo Wynne Baxter) Sir Geoff Hurst and Jason Edge (Marketing Director Mayo Wynne Baxter)

Raising vital funds for local children’s charity Rockinghorse, guests dug deep to raise £38,500 for sick children in Sussex. Funds raised from the Best of British event are supporting the charity’s annual Summer of Sport initiative, which this year is providing activities and leisure opportunities for local young people suffering from mental health problems.

Ryan Heal, Chief Executive of Rockinghorse Children’s Charity, said: “Rockinghorse has traditionally focussed its efforts on clinical equipment and resource. Whilst we very much continue to service these areas robustly, we are becoming far more acutely aware of the importance surrounding the support of children and young people with complex mental health issues right here in Sussex.”

A charity raffle and auction were held during the lunch to boost funds raised on the day. Items included a signed Lionel Messi boot, 1966 World Cup winning England shirt signed by 10 of the 11 starting players, plus a very special limited edition piece of artwork entitled ‘The Greatest Save’. Hand signed by both Pelé and Gordon Banks, the artwork was kindly donated by Castle Fine Art Gallery in Brighton and fetched £2,300 at auction.

Mr Heal, who also organises the Best of British sporting lunch, said: “Brighton was incredibly gracious to welcome our speaker Sir Geoff Hurst, who stepped in at the last minute following news of Gordon Banks’ ill health. He has been suffering from kidney cancer for the past couple of years and our guests began the day with a very respectful show of support for Mr Banks with a heartfelt moment’s applause.

“Our Best of British guests never fail to give generously and the money raised will continue the work of Rockinghorse as it looks to celebrate its own golden jubilee next year, having helped tens of thousands of Sussex children lead better and healthier lives.”

Rockinghorse is the official fundraising arm of the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton, and a vital supporter of the neighbouring Trevor Mann Baby Unit and its sister site, the Special Care Baby Unit in Haywards Heath. The charity raises money for life-saving and cutting-edge medical equipment, whilst ensuring that children are treated in an environment better suited to their needs.

To find out more, visit www.rockinghorse.org.uk.