Ben, the not-for-profit organisation that partners with the automotive industry to provide support for life to its people and their families, hosted its annual Ben Ball last week (December 14) at the Grosvenor House London, raising more than £203,000.
The funds raised will be invaluable in helping Ben continue its vital work in supporting people with their financial, physical, social and mental health and wellbeing.
Guests were welcomed by Zara Ross, chief executive at Ben, followed by Peter Johnson, who was elected as Ben’s president in October this year.
Ross said: “The Ben Ball is our most important event of the year as it highlights the role Ben plays and raises essential income for us to continue supporting our automotive colleagues. The event has helped us to further demonstrate that we’re here for the people working in the industry and that we partner with companies to help them promote an energised and healthy workforce.”
During the evening, Daksh Gupta, chief executive of Marshall Motor Group, who raised over £151,000 for Ben in this year’s Industry Leader Challenge skydive, handed the baton to Jeremy Hicks, managing director of Jaguar Land Rover.
Hicks has been a Trustee of Ben for two years and will galvanise his team to raise awareness and beat Guptas’s £151,000 in the Jaguar Land Rover Channel Swim Challenge next August.
He said: “I am challenging myself, my team and also the industry to get behind our own dedicated industry charity. Without the vital support from the industry Ben couldn’t continue to provide the much-needed services to our colleagues. It's easy to take our health for granted, so this challenge will raise awareness of the importance of maintaining a good level of physical fitness - whatever our age.
“Ben is a vital lifeline and its sole purpose is to help improve the health and wellbeing of the automotive workforce, reducing absence, raising productivity and morale."
Thanks to a vast number of generous donations from across the automotive industry and beyond, the auction contained a variety of fantastic items. The star prize of the night was the special edition Jaguar F-PACE S, personally created by Jaguar’s director of design Ian Callum, which raised £102,500.
Another highlight of the evening featured Chris Brown who took to the stage and bravely shared his personal story about his family’s experience of Ben’s support. He said: “I was really pleased to attend the Ball and tell my story about the ongoing support my family has received from Ben. Without Ben I dread to think what would have become of my family. Ben has given us a lifeline – both emotional and financial support – which I am extremely grateful for. Without Ben and our Support Manager we would have lost our home and the relationships in our family. A sincere thank you to you all.”
The Ben Ball is the organisation’s annual flagship event with two core objectives: fundraising and raising awareness about the important work the organisation does. The event is a highlight of the automotive industry calendar and has been running for over 90 years.