Memorial Ball raises record-breaking £400,000 after five-year break

29 November, 2023

On Saturday 25 November 2023, the Grand Pier in Weston-super-Mare welcomed 650 special guests to the ninth Axentis Michael Charitable Trust fundraising Memorial Ball.

Originally set to be a one-time event to remember and honour the life Axentis Michael, former Weston hotelier and Grandfather of Regency's Managing Director Alex Demetriou, the first ball took place back in 2006 and raised an impressive £150,000. Since its inception, the event has continued to grow in popularity and has now become a bi-annual highlight in the social calendar, with each event raising more funds than the last.

Following a five-year break, this year’s event was the first Memorial Ball to have taken place since 2018, as previously planned events were unfortunately cancelled due heavy snowfall and the pandemic.

This year’s dazzling event raised an astonishing £404,000 and was attended by businesspeople from across the UK and beyond, as well as family, friends and supporters, plus several familiar faces.

Retail entrepreneur and star of BBC2’s Dragons’ Den Theo Paphitis was one of the many celebrities who attended and supported the event with generous prize donations. Other celebrity attendees included BBC presenter Jon Kay, British athlete and double Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell OBE, television presenter and property expert Martin Roberts and renowned British clothes designer Jeff Banks.

A series of auctions, games and raffles took place on the night with an endless array of ‘money-can’t-buy’ experiences up for grabs. Throughout the evening, guests had the opportunity to win or bid for prizes such as the opportunity to play at the ultra-exclusive Beaverbrook Golf Club, a private box for 20 guests at the O2 Arena, a 1-carat natural diamond (worth £7,000) and a seven-night luxury break in the Maldives.

Regency Purchasing Group suppliers and brand owners donated generously to support the event with all the food and drink being sponsored by our partners.

Alex Demetriou, Trustee and Managing Director of Regency Purchasing Group said:

“This year’s event saw the return of the Memorial Ball after a five year break – and what a spectacular return it was!

To have raised over £400,000 in just five hours is such an incredible achievement which simply wouldn’t have been possible without the overwhelming goodwill and generosity of businesses, friends, supporters and volunteers from near and far.

There are too many people to thank, but a particular thank you to all our suppliers who assisted with stock and attended on the night, thank you to Compass Group and the team at Payne & Gunter and James Buckley for delivering amazing food and to Diageo and Booker for sponsoring the drinks reception.

On behalf of myself, the Trustees and our family, I’d like to thank everyone who attended and supported; we shall continue to do what we can to support those in our local community who need it the most.”

To date, the Axentis Michael Charitable Trust, now one of the town’s largest charitable concerns, has raised and distributed over £2 million to worthy causes within the local community. Major beneficiaries include Weston Hospicecare, Weston Hospital Children’s Ward and multiple local families and children with life-restricting conditions who have needed treatment not covered by the NHS. The Axentis Michael Charitable Trust also supports and donates funds to local groups, charities and organisations who work to support the local community.

The success of every Memorial Ball is thanks to the work of the Trustees and the Michael family, along with hundreds of volunteers who donate their time without charge, plus the amazing generosity from the businesses, friends and supporters who provided the venue, food, drink, auction and raffle prizes to ensure that every penny pledged goes directly to helping those most in need within our local community.

The next Memorial Ball will take place in November 2025.

Visit the Axentis Michael Charitable Trust website to view the photos from the Memorial Ball and to find out more about the charity.

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