Lulu performed some of her most well-known hits at a prestigious fundraiser to help unemployed young people across the North West turn their lives around.
More than 350 guests gathered at the annual Eaton Park Gala Dinner in aid of youth charity The Prince’s Trust in the stunning grounds of Eaton Park, the home of the Grosvenor Family by kind permission of Their Graces the Duke and Duchess of Westminster.
All of the funds raised will go to The Prince’s Trust, which helps disadvantaged young people overcome issues like unemployment, homelessness and depression and move into work or training.
Lulu first burst onto the music scene with Shout in 1964 and since then has been the only female artist to have a hit in every decade. She said: “Growing up I was fortunate enough to have a great support network around me which helped me to achieve my ambitions.
“It is heartbreaking to know that there are young people out there, who feel completely alone and without hope for the future. We need to make sure that they know that there is help there from fantastic charities like The Prince’s Trust. Performing to help raise funds for this worthy cause was an honour and such an enjoyable evening.”
Hosted by Anna Williamson and sponsored by jewellers, Boodles, the sold-out event started with a Laurent-Perrier champagne reception and followed with dinner provided by Cheshire-based catering firm Dougherty & Allen.
Guests were also invited to bid for money-can’t-buy auction prizes including a meet and greet with Bryan Adams plus tickets to his show in Manchester, Rugby World Cup Final Tickets for Twickenham 2015 and an all inclusive paid holiday to Mauritius. Boodles provided the prizes of the evening; a Roulette yellow gold diamond pendant and a Raindance Classic diamond ring, part of the Best of British Design collection at London’s V&A Museum.
Guests were given the chance to hear from Jenni Clayton-Brown who was diagnosed with bi-polar aged just 14 years old. Jenni turned to drugs thinking they would help but these only made things worse and her situation escalated. Jenni believed that no one could help her and things deteriorated so much that she began to self-harm.
Jenni hid this from her family and friends and passed her GCSEs in 2010 with modest grades going on to secure a place in college. Here Jenni was introduced to alcohol and with her burden of depression still looming over her she used that in a desperate bid to escape from her problems.
When Jenni’s grandmother told her about The Prince’s Trust Team programme, Jenni thought it would be a waste of time but she was surprised when it was everything she had never expected. Jenni made new friends, learnt new skills and got the second chance she thought she would never have.
She said: “The Prince’s Trust has helped me by constantly providing me with time and support with my issues. Even if I didn’t need help on a particular day, they’d still be there to support me, and sometimes that can be everything to a young person, just knowing people do really care. I recently gained employment with Marks and Spencer in Ormskirk, where I did my work placement. Things couldn’t be better.”
David Pollock, chairman of The Prince’s Trust North West Development Committee, said: “Without the vital support of our generous guests at our fundraising events, The Trust would not be able to carry out the vital work it does to change the lives of young people here in the region.
“There are still more than one in five (21 per cent) young people in the North West desperately looking for work. They need all the support we can give them to overcome the barriers they are facing and find employment. To have the support of Lulu was also just phenomenal and her performance was first class.”
Nicholas Wainwright, of Boodles, said: “We were delighted to be supporting The Prince’s Trust’s Eaton Park Gala Dinner this year and providing two of our most precious pieces of jewellery for the auction. It has been a fantastic event and we are passionate about providing disadvantaged young people here in the North West with the support and opportunities to change their lives for the better.”
Thanks to funding from events like the Eaton Park Gala Dinner, The Prince’s Trust was able to support 6,544 young people in the North West last year, giving them the skills and confidence to find a job. Three in four young people on Prince’s Trust schemes move into work, education or training.