For the first time in seventy years, The Benevolent Society returned to the opulent ballroom of the Grand Hotel Birmingham to celebrate with almost two hundred trade guests and friends.
The Benevolent Society Christmas Ball, sponsored by Parify Group, returned with fun and frivolity at its core. Jewellery trade members came together and generously dug deep into their pockets to raise money for the charity and party the night away.
David Doyle, the organiser of the Benevolent Society Christmas Ball, said, “What a fantastic evening. Thank you to all attendees, sponsors, and hotel staff for making last night such a memorable occasion. To return to a setting with a proud history of hosting jewellers’ balls as far back as the 1800s, it was a delight to host so many friends in the trade.
“Last night was about two things – Raising significant funds for the Benevolent Society and attendees having fun and enjoying themselves. I am delighted to say that we achieved both things and, in fact, exceeded expectations.”
Chair’s Award goes to trade charities
The inaugural NAJ Chair’s Award, sponsored by Windiam, was fittingly shared between the three trade charities of the Goldsmiths’ Company Charity, The Silversmiths’ and Jewellers’ Charity and the Benevolent Society. The judging panel recognised their tireless work mobilising to support individuals and businesses that had fallen through the gaps of government financial support.
The charities’ trade support, raising money from golf days and gala dinners to donations, is one to make the industry proud. The committed work of volunteers behind-the-scenes, giving their time and making crucial decisions, made a significant difference to people’s lives within the trade.
Accepting the award on behalf of The Goldsmiths Company was Andrew McGowan, Julie Griffin on behalf of Jewellers and Silversmith Charity and Gay Penfold on behalf of the Benevolent Society.
The judging panel led by Harriet Kelsall and supported by Anna Blackburn, Lindsey Straughton, and Mark Smith collectively described the activity as challenging due to the sheer number of high calibre recommendations.
Kassandra Lauren Gordon was also highly commended for her actions kick-starting much-needed conversations and actions over the past 18 months with an open letter to our industry highlighting inequality and racism that exists in the trade towards black people. Kassandra created and delivered the UK Black Jewellers hardship fund, started a podcast for black creatives and won a Gold award in the equality and diversity category at the Goldsmith Craft and Design Council awards. Speaking to attendees in the grand ballroom, Gary Wroe, NAJ Chair, described Kassandra’s actions as an undeniably outstanding contribution to better the industry.
Presenting the Chair’s Award, NAJ Chair Gary Wroe said, “All recommendations had been submitted because a person or company had gone above and beyond to help a person, project, workforce or community through what has been a challenging time. We were heartened by the significant number of recommendations that came flooding in, and we’d like to thank all those that took the time to put forward a recommendation.
“The sheer number of recommendations demonstrates that there are many people out there that have stood up and unselfishly helped others through the past two years. This is a great sign of how the jewellery community can and has pulled together. In truth, many of the people and businesses recommended could have been deserving winners of the award.
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