The Ireland Funds Great Britain annual Winter Ball returned to London’s world-famous Globe Theatre on Saturday 2 December, 2017.
From the champagne reception amongst the historical Shakespeare exhibition, guests moved to the elegant Underglobe and were invited to take part in the silent auction with a long list of exciting items on offer, including tickets to an intimate Ed Sheeran gig in London and a limited edition Louise Kennedy designer bag.
Kieran McLoughlin, Worldwide President and CEO of The Ireland Funds welcomed guests and honourees; Martin O’Neill OBE, Manager of the Republic of Ireland’s national soccer team; Sharon Horgan, actress, screenwriter and comedian; and Imelda May, singer-songwriter.
Kieran then introduced Chairman of The Ireland Funds Great Britain, Garrett Hayes who presented a Dublin Crystal award to Martin O’Neill for his outstanding contribution to Irish Sport. Martin O’Neill was in attendance with his wife and two daughters. He thanked his family for their tremendous support over the years and spoke about a few of the many highlights from his successful sporting career.
Patrick Tully, Director, The Ireland Funds Young Leaders took the stage and roused guests in support of two chosen charities, The Southwark Irish Pensioners Project which assists elderly members of the Irish community in the very same borough of London where the event took place, and the Integrated Education Fund in Northern Ireland which establishes integrated schools and nurtures their success and growth.
Deirdre O’Sullivan, Chair of the Gala committee, introduced Sharon Horgan and presented her with an award for her outstanding contribution to Irish culture. She spoke about Sharon’s remarkable career to date as well as some of her personal highlights from Sharon’s extensive work. Sharon accepted the award, and spoke with great humour about her career as an Irish person living in London and her passion for speaking to Irish people around the world through her work.
Kieran McLoughlin took to the stage to introduce singer songwriter Imelda May and honoured her for her outstanding contribution to Irish music. Imelda addressed the crowd with words of gratitude before finishing proceedings by singing and exquisite and moving song called ‘Girl I Used To Be’, accompanied by her guitarist.
For the remainder of the evening, guests rapidly took part in the online auction, and danced the night away with tunes from the outstanding party band Madhen.
Many leading figures from business, politics, sport and culture joined members of The Winter Ball Committee, chaired by Deirdre O’Sullivan and John Fitzpatrick, Chairman of The Ireland Funds America, to mark the occasion.
Photography by Fergus Burnett
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