Last night saw me swap my trainers for my dancing shoes, as I attended the London Football Awards. An event hosted by The Willow Foundation, it was a night at Battersea Evolution filled with glitz, glamour and many football legends.
With the Willow Foundation being the Red Letter Days partnered charity we were lucky enough to be able to get our hands on a table for the evening. Usually the football scene would not hold any interest for me, however I simply could not pass up a chance to support another Willow event. And I certainly was not disappointed.
We arrived at Battersea Evolution to a wonderful champagne reception and managed to get up close to the Premier League trophy – proudly on display (and heavily guarded) for the evening.
The evening quickly got underway with Gary Linekar as our wonderful host. With great rapport, he kept us thoroughly entertained throughout the evening.
A successful night for Chelsea, who won three awards; Premier League Player of the Year (N’Golo Kante), Manager of the Year (Antonio Conte) and Outstanding Contribution to London Football (Frank Lampard). Tottenham Hotspur (Ross’s team and therefore the guys I was cheering on), also went on to have great successes with Dele Alli winning Young Player of the Year and Hugo Lloris with Goal Keeper of the Year.
An exciting evening, where even I managed to get a few pictures taken with the great Frank Lampard and, much to Ross’s approval, Dele Alli. The likes of Ian Wright (who was such a witty man to talk to), David Seaman and Roy Hodgeson were also in attendance, as well as the the great Bob Wilson – co-founder of the Willow Foundation.
Although the evening’s purpose was to award some amazing talent in London football, there was also a second and more poignant purpose for us all being there – to raise money for the Willow Foundation. A charity that has become so close to my heart after working with them, fundraising for them and attending many events over the last few years.
A silent auction was in place, where lucky bidders could win anything from holidays to signed football shirts. A live auction also took place once dinner had ended – where, I if I remember rightly, a private dinner with Frank Lampard at Coutts sold at a final auction price of £30,000.
Leaving before the auction had ended, I went home buzzing. Not from champagne, but from the thrill of being part of such amazing event. I feel so privileged to have the opportunity to attend the awards, especially knowing there were many friends or family who would have loved to be in my place.
The event came at the right time too. With 50 days to go until the London Marathon, it reminded me why I am doing this. I am not just running a marathon, I am raising money for the Willow Foundation. And every penny I raise will make a difference.