On Tuesday 18 July 2017, the "London Unites" fundraising dinner for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire was hosted by Michael Sloan of the Novotel Hammersmith.
The event also received support from hotels in West London led by Edward Bracken, General Manager of the Crowne Plaza Kensington. Neighbouring hotels such as Lancaster London, The Dorsett and Royal Garden Hotel helped to raise the sum of £104,000.
Bracken said, "The whole evening was an incredibly humbling experience. It is fantastic that we have been able to raise this amount with only three weeks to prepare, with everyone involved donating their time, food, drink... everything was contributed with no charge. It was a wonderful example of what true hospitality is."
The dinner, which hosted over 500 guests, was run at zero cost, allowing all of the money raised to go directly to those affected by the recent tragedy. This is a first for the hospitality industry, where 100% of the staff, food, beverage, AV and entertainment were donated for the cause.
Ben Purton, Executive Head Chef and Director of Food & Beverage at Lancaster London, was heavily involved on the organisational team. Volunteers from the Sales and Marketing team also worked the evening as chefs and waiters, alongside kitchen apprentices and Guest Safety staff from Lancaster London.
The evening included a three-course dinner, a silent live auction, music and entertainment. Survivors of the tragedy shared their stories with the room, and the two tables of Ladbroke Fire Station staff were given a standing ovation for their heroism and bravery in saving lives.
The money raised will be distributed via The Kensington & Chelsea Foundation, The Evening Standard Dispossessed Fund and The London Community Foundation. These are independent charities that London Unites is proud to work alongside as they will ensure that all funds go directly to those affected.