Dorchester Hotel, London
There’s something about the constantly-filled wine glass that, at the time, seems such a brilliant idea, and yet, the next day, leaves you feeling quite the opposite! Such was the “day after” feeling I had following the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation’s annual black-tie dinner in the lavish surroundings of the Dorchester Hotel ballroom. What a night it was!
The Foundation excelled itself in making £200k through a combination of tickets, tables and the auction on the night, all of which is going to be finding its way to frontline conservation projects in Africa and Asia.
To be surrounded by up to 400 other people, all of whom are there for the same fundamental reason, is an inspiring experience in itself, and when you throw in the celebrity auctioneer, a live performance by the cast of the Lion King (fresh from their performance in Drury Lane earlier in the evening!), a live band a smattering of A-listers, and you have the perfect combination.
For me, two of the highlights were meeting (Sir…well, he should be!) Brian May and his ex-Eastender wife, Anita Dobson (what a gem she was!), and a long chat with one of the UK’s greatest treasures, Dame Judi Dench.
A sparkling conversationist, with a dry sense of humour, she not only was happy to be bored by me, but spent ten minutes chatting to my father-in-law, Cliff Rayner, who she had met back in 1963 when she performed as Lady Macbeth in Nigeria. This was made even more special when they realized they had mutual friends, leaving Cliff beaming from ear to ear, and providing him with a story to dine out on for many years to come!
If you don’t know much about the Foundation, I’d urge you to take a look at their site (you can find the link on the “who we support” section), and hopefully perhaps you can be encouraged to participate in some of their other upcoming events.
So, following the glitz and glam, it’s time to get packing.
In just over a week, I’ll be off to Canada, and onto northern Manitoba to track polar bears on foot. Fingers crossed, they will be migrating north in numbers by now and I’ll be able to intercept quite a few of them. Whatever happens, it’s a truly special place, and I can’t wait to get back there. Cheers for now!