On 6th July TENT held its Summer Party at the beautiful Fawley Court on the banks of the River Thames. Thanks to the generosity of our friends at Fawley Court, we were able to put on an event that thrilled guests and was hugely successful in raising vital funds for our partner projects across Europe.
Tea and talk
Guests were welcomed by the Fawley Court team and escorted down to the riverbank in style, being handed a cooling glass of Pimms or cup of Fortnum & Mason tea as they arrived in time to watch the Regatta races.
After tea, we invited everyone to join us in the beautiful private concert hall tucked away in the Capability Brown grounds of Fawley Court. A brief welcome to our honoured guests from Paul was followed by an unforgettable performance by the world-renowned Hungarian pianist Havasi. Balazs Havasi is most well-known for founding different musical projects including compositions for symphony orchestras, rock drums and piano, and his performance showcased a selection of his amazing work.
Drinks and dinner
Havasi’s recital both wowed and moved guests, and conversation during the champagne reception was a-buzz with enthusiastic responses. Guests were introduced and caught up on news from the world of nature conservation, and of course TENT’s partner projects, the beneficiaries of the event. The bar was stocked thanks to our generous supporters with Fortnum & Mason Brut Reserve N.V. Louis Roederer; with gin and tonics courtesy of The Botanist; and blonde lager from Black Isle Brewery, all perfect accompaniments to a quintessentially British summer’s afternoon.
Following a fantastic dinner laid on by the Fawley Court team and with venison from Ardgay Game, Ross Westgate our MC for the evening introduced keynote speaker Professor David Macdonald. David spoke about the devastating impact that the public’s inactivity has on the survival of Europe’s last remaining wilderness, and cited the role of TENT’s partner projects as being instrumental in protecting the wilderness and its inhabitants. He implored guests to get involved and to support TENT on its mission to connect people to nature, and if the amount of money raised in the ensuing auction was anything to go by, Professor Macdonald had certainly succeeded.
An animated auction
Having been inspired by our keynote speaker, it was time to give the guests an opportunity to win some fantastic auction prizes and in doing so support TENT’s partner projects. Auctioneer Ed Rising proved to be the best man for the job. He had guests going head to head – at one stage taking to standing up on a chair – to win tickets to see Havasi perform at Wembley, unforgettable Conservation Journeys to see the TENT-supported projects, and camera traps for the conservation project teams on the ground. The response was phenomenal with some prizes being bid for multiple times.
They say it’s the sign of a good party when guests don’t want to leave, and even as the light faded, guests were to be found still enthusiastically discussing TENT’s work, David’s speech, and the conservation journeys that had just raised an amazing amount for Foundation Conservation Carpathia, Fundación Oso Pardo, Salviamo l’Orso and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland.
A very big thank you!
The success of the Summer Party was down to what can only be described as an incredible team effort. A very big thank you goes to Ardgay Game for supplying the venison; Black Isle Brewery for the beer; The Botanist Gin for their dry gin; Fawley Court for the beautiful venue and amazing team; Fortnum & Mason for the goody bags (of which, to no one’s surprise, there were none leftover), tea and champagne; Havasi for his spectacular performance; and Natura Siberica for making the TENT goody bags the envy of all of Henley Royal Regatta with their shampoo and conditioner.
Thanks to the team at Fawley Court, our fantastic sponsors and generous supporters the event has produced a staggering £100,000 for TENT’s partner projects. In Paul’s words, this is our “best result yet” and we are so very grateful to everyone who played a part and helped make it possible.
We’ve been blown away by the kind words and thank yous that we’ve received from guests since the party, but there is no rest for the wicked and we’re already working on exciting plans that are in the pipeline for the rest of 2019 and into 2020. Onwards and upwards!