The Fence Club Christmas ball took place on Saturday 2nd December, at the Hilton London Metropole, a new venue for the first time in over 30 years.
The organising team rose admirably to the challenge of dealing with a new set up, and their hard work in the run up to the occasion meant that the evening ultimately went off without a hitch.
The Fence Club was founded in 1950 by toy suppliers and retailers, to represent “all sides of the fence” of the UK toy industry. The organisation has 45 members and additional “Wall members”, who have retired. The club motto is “strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.”
Nearly 350 guests did just that last Saturday, enjoying a lively drinks reception in delightfully spacious surroundings, followed by a delicious three course meal in the hotel’s Kensington Suite. With festive themed décor and an atmosphere of good cheer all round, the evening also had a serious side. Fence Club Charities secretary Joe Kissane presented a video detailing the sterling work of the club, which inspired rapturous applause from those in the room.
Proceedings included a speech from chairman Jon Gregory, a well-supported raffle and an exciting auction. A host of wonderful prizes were won by guests throughout the evening, and the chairman was delighted to announce that an impressive amount had been raised on the night alone, thanks to the raffle, auction and a selection of personal donations to the charity. The Fence Club says that the total funds raised by the event are still being finalised, but is expected to exceed £75k – which it described as “an absolute record”.
Having enjoyed a smooth Frank Sinatra tribute act at the beginning of the evening, guests were further treated to a wonderful display from a military marching band, then danced the night away to the rather excellent Sway, who ensured that the dance floor was never empty.
A fantastic time was had by all and, most importantly, significant funds were raised “for the children”; a significant number of selected children’s charities will benefit from the generosity of Fence Club members and their guests. Hats off to all of the committee and organisers of the event; Table 31 (Team Toy World and valued guests) certainly had an excellent night and would like to thank you all for your hard work – and reassure you that the sleepless nights and odd grey hair were worth it. We’ve all discovered a new favourite cocktail and look forward to next year’s event.
The Fence Club comittee said: “Thank you to everyone who attended, and donated, here’s to a wonderful Christmas and looking forward to our next event: The Toy Fair 2024 party.”
You can follow the work of the Fence Club on its LinkedIn page here. Apart from the Christmas ball, fundraising events this year have included the popular Teddy Simmonds Golf Day and successful sponsored walks by a group of Wall members.