Thanks a million - money milestone is celebrated at Stevenage Community Trust’s silver celebration

Diners at the Priory Barn, Wymondley, mark SCT's milestone

Diners at the Priory Barn, Wymondley, mark SCT's milestone - Credit: Archant

When you’re celebrating your 25th birthday, you’ve just given away a record amount of cash and in the process the total you’ve pumped into Stevenage over the years has topped the £1 million mark, a certain amount of celebration is in order.

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Stevenage Community Trust. Pictured left to right are main e

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Stevenage Community Trust. Pictured left to right are main event sponsors Robin McMillan, chief executive of The Wine Society; Nilesh Savjani, partner at Wagstaffs chartered accountants; Barbara Follett; Ian Campbell; David Morgan of law firm HRJ Foreman Laws and Robert Stewart, founder of Stevenage Packaging Ltd and chairman of Stevenage Community Trust. - Credit: Archant

But a glitzy black tie ball to mark the silver anniversary of the Stevenage Community Trust on Friday night was marked with sadness, as supporters reflected on the recent death of the woman who came up with the idea for the organisation in the first place.

The town’s first woman mayor Hilda Lawrence – who died last month at the age of 86 – picked up on the success of community trusts elsewhere in the world and enthused others with the model of a body backed by the town’s business community which would provide crucial support to charities and individuals in need.

Clogiron, featuring president Ken Follett, far right, entertained the diners

Clogiron, featuring president Ken Follett, far right, entertained the diners - Credit: Archant

The organisation’s current chair Robert Stewart proposed a toast in her memory before the anniversary and dinner dance at Wymondley’s Priory Barn got under way.

International football referee Graham Poll. a former pupil at Thomas Alleyne’s School in Stevenage Old Town, gave supporters a rare insight into the sport’s biggest names including Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho and David Beckham while bestselling author and Trust president Ken Follett swapped his pen for a bass guitar to entertain guests with his band ClogIron.

Chairman Robert Stewart

Chairman Robert Stewart - Credit: Archant

Support from event sponsors and enthusiastic bidding for auction lots and raffle prizes meant that the 25th anniversary event raised an altogether appropriate total of £25,000.

Chair of trustees Robert Stewart said:“I was delighted that so many of our supporters could join us to celebrate this landmark in the Trust’s history.

Black tie event at Priory Barn, Wymondley, to mark the 25th anniversary of Stevenage Community Trust

Black tie event at Priory Barn, Wymondley, to mark the 25th anniversary of Stevenage Community Trust. Guest speaker and former top class referee Graham Poll, who went to school at Alleynes School in the town, with SCT manager Caroline Haskins - Credit: Archant

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“In 25 years we have given out £1 million in grants – a terrific achievement that we could not have realised without the generosity of our supporters.

“I’m looking forward to another 25 years of the Trust helping Stevenage people and organisations.”

The Trust gives out grants locally to needy individuals and community organisations.

Between 2014 and 2015, it supported 258 families in Stevenage and the surrounding areas as well as 45 local charities, sports clubs and community groups. In total, 17,000 people benefitted from its backing.

The Trust, which has 57 business members, ensures that overheads are kept to a minimum so its funds can support as many local people, with a wide variety of needs, as possible.

New members are always welcome, and local groups are invited to apply for support – find out more online at www.stevenagecommunitytrust.org or call 01438 525390.

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