Walliams: The Fed has got welfare talent



Manchester's major Jewish welfare charity, The Fed, has a new fan in David Walliams.

The comedian, actor and Britain's Got Talent judge was guest speaker at The Fed's dinner, telling the 550 crowd that he was "proud to be associated with such an amazing charity. I'm staggered by the breadth of its work and the number of people it helps."

Held this time at an Old Trafford suite, the biennial event is the key fundraiser for The Fed, which supports more than 1,000 people at any one time.The appeal attracted donations and pledges exceeding £1 million over two years.

Treasurer Bernie Yaffe said the response "stands us in good stead to achieve our overall target of £1.6 million, which represents our annual operating deficit".

The Fed's chairman, Mark Adlestone, said it was known as a flagship organisation because "our standards are excellent".

Through its Heathlands campus, "we have smashed the traditional concept of the old home and created an inter-generational site where the old and the young are together in one vibrant place".

Chief executive Karen Phillips introduced a short film highlighting the charity's work through three stories covering children and families, the elderly and the mentally ill. "Whatever changes are ahead," she said, "you can bank on us to be here, lobbying for what people should rightfully receive and fighting their corner.[And] making sure that we provide as much as we can to as many as we can."

Ruth and Mark Jackson, parents of one of the film's subjects, made the appeal.They described their devastation on discovering that their daughter had special needs. As she got older, "the gap between her and her peers grew wider; she could not form friendships. I was heartbroken for her and for me. I began to feel like an outsider around the other mums," Mrs Jackson said.

"The help and assistance that we have received, and continue to receive, from The Fed has been life changing… life saving."

Interviewed by Radio 4's Paddy O'Connell, Mr Walliams conceded that Little Britain co-star Matt Lucas always "made a much more attractive woman" than he did.

Hailing Mel Brooks as the "god of comedy", he added that he sometimes wished he was Jewish as he missed some of the nuances in the humour.

And the best thing about being a celebrity? "Getting to meet the people you admire. When we did the Little Britain live show I was told one of the Beatles wanted to meet me - Paul McCartney! And then recently I interviewed Michael Palin and I was thinking: 'How did I get here from being 12 and watching Monty Python on the telly?'"

Coronation Street stars Kym Marsh and Antony Cotton were among the dinner guests.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive