As Chair of the Edge Hotel School Board I naturally take a great deal of pride in the activities of the students and the success of the school. However, last night’s fundraising event at the school’s home, Wivenhoe House, exceeded all my expectations.
Night for Nepal was conceived by the Nepal 14 group who trekked through Nepal for the hospitality charity Springboard. They asked the Edge Hotel School if they would host and arrange a fundraising dinner to support the rebuilding of the Shree Mahendra Bal Lower Secondary School near Kathmandu, which had been severely damaged in the 2015 earthquake.
Student volunteers leapt at the opportunity to put their hotel management skills into practice in a true learning by doing scenario, and set to work organising a gala dinner event. They exercised their business acumen and charm working with industry organisations and supporters to secure sponsorship and items for the live and silent auctions.
Three of the UK’s exceptionally talented women chefs created a stunning three course meal assisted in the preparation and service by Edge Hotel School students.
Madalene Bonvini-Hamel of Suffolk based restaurant, the British Larder, presented a seasonally fresh starter of cured salmon, asparagus and peas. This was followed by a mouth-watering main of new season lamb by Lisa Goodwin-Allen of Northcote Manor Hotel and finally we were indulged with the deceptively simply named ‘strawberries and cream’, a wonderful creation by Chantelle Nicholson of Marcus Wareing Restaurants.
Almost a hundred guests attended the event and successful bidders secured overnight stays at the Ritz, dinner at Marcus Wareing’s Treadwells restaurant, as well as afternoon tea events, cases of champagne and spa experiences. Edge donated afternoon tea at the House of Lords which was subject to a flurry of very competitive bidding!
I was hugely impressed by the calm professionalism of the students who organised, managed and hosted the event from beginning to end, with only a handful of industry professionals on hand for guidance. Even more pleasing was to hear the accolades from industry professionals around the room for our aspiring managers.
It was a glamorous, glittering and hugely enjoyable occasion, but of course there was one main ambition for the evening and the students exceeded all expectations. A grand total of £18,500 was raised for the Children of the Mountain to help rebuild the Shree Mahendra Bal Lower School.
Of course acknowledgement and thanks must go to all the industry supporters, staff of Wivenhoe House and staff of the Edge Hotel School, but most importantly to the student volunteers. They ably demonstrated what can be achieved when you put learning by doing into practice and all deserve a name check - Vivien Schaper, Libby O’Grady, Maria Tolhurst, Elina Cheng, Toby Bonnett, Philippa Prior, Lucia Sanchez Lopez, Sam Brough, Charlie Johnston, Sam Edwards, Leah Wilson and Shaverne Farrell.