Stevenage Community Trust welcomed guests to its annual black tie dinner to raise funds - beating last year's total of £36,000.

The £41,000 raised on the night will go towards distributing £150 Christmas gift cards and £300 heating grants to those most in need in the town - a particularly timely scheme, given the ongoing cost of living and energy crises. 

Barbados-born Roland Butcher, who is Stevenage, Middlesex and England’s first Black cricketer, was the special guest speaker at the event in The Priory Barn in Little Wymondley - just weeks after being given the Freedom of London.

The Comet: Rob Stewart and Roland Butcher at the Stevenage Community Trust black tie dinnerRob Stewart and Roland Butcher at the Stevenage Community Trust black tie dinner (Image: Stevenage Community Trust)

In a Q&A session with Stevenage Community Trust Chairman Rob Stewart, Roland shared his inspirational life story, from when he arrived in Stevenage aged 13 and made his Stevenage first team Cricket Club debut aged just 15, and in latter years playing football for Stevenage Football Club.

Many of Roland's family still live in Stevenage, including his father Robert - now aged 93.

The glitzy evening was sponsored by Austins, Stevenage Packaging, The Wine Society, Tollers, Wagstaffs, Daines Kapp, TDI Solutions, Foreman Laws.

The Comet: Stevenage Community Trust black tie dinner sponsors, 2022Stevenage Community Trust black tie dinner sponsors, 2022 (Image: Stevenage Community Trust)

Many unique and special auctions prizes were donated including historical private tours generously donated by Knebworth and Hatfield House.

The previous record amount of £36,500 raised was set last year when Eddie the Eagle was guest speaker.

Samantha Bush, the new trust grants manager, said: "The sell-out event could not have been such a success without the wonderful generosity of all who attended, the support and help I received from trustees working alongside our fabulous team of volunteers before and on the night, led by Emma Cole, in addition to the array of amazing auction and raffle prizes that were so kindly gifted."

Last year, Stevenage Community Trust donated a record £142,326 worth of grants.

For more information about the trust visit