Stars come out for £3.5m Jewish Care meal
Headline newsmakers: John Suchet (centre) with Jewish Care’s LordLevy and Stephen Zimmerman — and Ronan Keating singing for his supper
Newsreader John Suchet told almost 1,000 guests at Jewish Care's campaign dinner that he was "overwhelmed with admiration" for the charity.
Mr Suchet's wife Bonnie was diagnosed with dementia four years ago. Before Monday's dinner in central London - which raised £3.5 million towards Jewish Care's £15 million deficit - he met clients, relatives, volunteers and staff at its Leonard Sainer Special Day Care Centre in Edgware.
"The centre was amazing," he said. "You can never go to these places without being uplifted.
"I'm overwhelmed with admiration for the people at Jewish Care. People who work in care do it because they choose to. I have been thrust into it.
"Thank you to Jewish Care, on behalf of all carers, for everything it is doing to help fight this terrible disease."
Musical entertainment was provided by Ronan Keating, who hopes to tour a Jewish Care facility next month. "I think the work Jewish Care does is fantastic." he said. "It's incredibly important that communities look after themselves and I was amazed at how much money was raised.
"I have seen the effect of dementia on people and it's very sad."
Diners were addressed by Sharon Blacker, whose 90-year-old mother was diagnosed with dementia in 2003 and now lives in residential care. "I desperately needed help," she recalled. "I don't know what I would have done without Jewish Care. They were there when I needed them, they listened and helped me find the right way to support my mum."
Explaining the financial imperatives, chairman Stephen Zimmerman said the dinner's focus was "on the need to support our day-to-day activities, which reach out to 7,000 people, many of them vulnerable, frail, elderly and isolated. There are no alternatives to so many of our services. But, ironically, while their uniqueness is both recognised and relied upon by local authorities, there is little or no financial support from either local or central government, something perhaps we don't shout about enough."
President, Lord Levy, said the organisation was "exactly what the label reads".
He added: "We are Jewish, very proud to be Jewish and we care passionately for those who really do need to be taken care of."