Joanna Lumley was the star attraction at the annual UJIA women’s appeal, praising the “family spirit” of the Jewish community.
The actress, best-loved for her role as Patsy Stone in the sitcom Absolutely Fabulous, enthralled guests with anecdotes about her career before earning rapturous applause when she spoke about her recent successful campaign to allow Gurkha veterans to settle in Britain.
She described them as “wonderful, warm people, who I first met because my father served with them while stationed with the British army”.
She also spoke of her “admiration” for the Jewish community, praising the work of the UJIA for building projects that help the “Jewish family” to thrive.
Ms Lumley also told the 350-strong audience: “This is the most glamorous event I have been to for a long time.”
The brunch was held at the Westfield London Shopping Centre in Shepherd’s Bush on Wednesday.
Speaking after the event Ms Lumley reaffirmed that she was “absolutely fabulous” with her decision not to stand as an MP. She also said: “I hope the ladies brought their flat shoes with them because there’s plenty of shopping to get through.”
In her address, event chair Karen Harris described UJIA as “the thread of the community, offering financial assistance and infrastructure which helps Jewish youngsters foster their identity”. She hoped that “at least £120,000 would be raised from the event”. The proceeds will be split between UJIA’s educational work in the UK and its projects in the Galil region of northern Israel.