The ‘Best of British’ sporting lunch, held at The Grand hotel Brighton, raised over £38,000 for Sussex-based children’s charity, Rockinghorse. Gordon Banks OBE, goalkeeper of the winning 1966 World Cup England team had been due to appear at the lunch, but was sadly unable to attend due to last minute health reasons. Guests showed their appreciation when one of his 1966 team mates stepped in at short notice.
Ryan Heal, Chief Executive of Rockinghorse Children’s Charity, said: “Brighton was incredibly gracious to welcome our speaker Sir Geoff Hurst, who stepped in at the last minute following news of Gordon Banks’ ill health. He has been suffering from kidney cancer for the past couple of years and our guests began the day with a very respectful show of support for Mr Banks with a heartfelt moment’s applause.” A charity raffle and auction were held during the lunch to boost funds raised on the day. Items included a signed Lionel Messi boot, a 1966 World Cup winning England shirt signed by 10 of the 11 starting players, plus a very special limited edition piece of artwork entitled ‘The Greatest Save’. Hand-signed by both Pelé and Gordon Banks, the artwork was kindly donated by Castle Fine Art Gallery in Brighton and fetched £2,300 at auction.
Ryan Heal said: “Rockinghorse has traditionally focussed its efforts on clinical equipment and resource. Whilst we very much continue to service these areas robustly, we are becoming far more acutely aware of the importance surrounding the support of children and young people with complex mental health issues right here in Sussex. “Our Best of British guests never fail to give generously and the money raised will continue the work of Rockinghorse as it looks to celebrate its own golden jubilee next year, having helped tens of thousands of Sussex children lead better and healthier lives.”