Joanna Lumley helps mark £1m fundraiser

By Jonathan Kalmus, April 8, 2011
Joanna Lumley responds to a question from Nicky Campbell at the Federation of Jewish Services’ dinner

Joanna Lumley responds to a question from Nicky Campbell at the Federation of Jewish Services’ dinner

Supporters of Manchester's Federation of Jewish Services responded to a call to take a far-sighted view of the charity's future by pledging more than £1 million over two years at its annual dinner.

In excess of 600 people attended the dinner - one of the most successful fundraisers held by the community - which had the added attraction of an appearance by actress Joanna Lumley, who was interviewed by broadcaster Nicky Campbell.

FJS chairman Mark Adlestone had urged supporters to live up to the community's "enviable reputation to look after our own".

He described the major challenges faced in the wake of "unprecedented and brutal local authority cutbacks" of up to 35 per cent. FJS also needed to raise £8 million for capital investment into its north Manchester campus.

Filmed interviews were shown of people the charity helped, including mother Caroline Tobias, who was left blind after a brain tumour. Mrs Tobias also made an emotional live appeal, during which she revealed that a further tumour had been diagnosed.

Last Thursday's dinner was the first to raise funds jointly for the Heatlands care home and the Federation's community welfare services since their 2009 merger. Pledge cards detailed donors' prior financial commitments to both in the hope the merged charity would not suffer overall.

Ms Lumley - who answered questions about her film and television career - also thanked her audience for helping her to feel "part of the family". She later revealed she had heavily researched the charity's work, explaining: "I don't do very many of these but I wanted to be here because I love the feeling of community. FJS's idea for one site benefiting young and old is ambitious, daring and loving."

FJS chief executive Karen Phillips noted that pledges were expected to "hit our target for the evening, which was £1.2 million over two years.

"This is crucial if we are to achieve the vision of the organisation in the future."

Last updated: 1:46pm, April 8 2011