London Mayor Boris Johnson was on fine form at Norwood’s Annual Dinner, which attracted a record-breaking 1,350 guests. The glittering event at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel raised £3.4m for Norwood, the UK’s largest Jewish charity supporting vulnerable children and their families, children and young people with special educational needs, and adults with learning disabilities.
The charity took the opportunity to announce the appointment of their new Joint Presidents, Lord and Lady Mendelsohn. Lord Jonathan Mendelsohn was created a Life Peer as Baron Mendelsohn of Finchley in the London Borough of Barnet in 2013. Lady Nicola Mendelsohn CBE is Facebook's Vice-President for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Delivering a moving speech Boris Johnson spoke powerfully about the recent attacks in Paris. He then entered into a lively question and answer session, covering everything from Crossrail to his ambitions on Number 10. Praising the charity, he said:
Norwood, as long as I have been Mayor, has had my wholehearted support.
Thank you very much for what you are doing for London, the greatest city on earth. Forward with Norwood!
Norwood Chair David Ereira said:
Despite the obvious security concerns there was a fantastic turnout on the night. Our YN guests came out in force; raising more than ever before and securing their place as Norwood’s major donors and lay leaders of the future.
Welcoming Norwood’s new Joint Presidents, David Ereira said:
Lord and Lady Mendelsohn have a wealth of philanthropic, communal and commercial experience, as well as sharing a passion for Norwood’s work and vision. We are delighted that they have agreed to share their individual and joint expertise and work with our Board of Trustees and senior management team. Whilst following in the footsteps of our past and prestigious Presidents, we are looking forward to their unique skills and experiences adding to our collective efforts.
Sponsored by SG Hambros, and held at London’s Grosvenor House hotel, the dinner attracted a host of celebrities including Sir Philip Green, Tanya Bryer and Lord Levy. Rock legend Bryan Ferry provided the evening’s entertainment, performing hits such as ‘Smoke Gets In Your Eyes’ and ‘Slave To Love’.
Lizi Jackson, who turned to Norwood when her son was diagnosed with autism, delivered a moving appeal speech. She said:
Thanks to Norwood, I can stand here knowing that myself and my family have the best possible chance of succeeding.
Lady Mendelsohn said:
Jon and I are very honoured and excited to become part of the Norwood family. It plays such a crucial role for those who are vulnerable and for those that need support when faced with terrible difficulties through no fault of their own. We are looking forward to supporting the work of the fantastic lay and professional team and to doing what we can to help.