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15.06.2009

Fundraising to Sing About

A Port of London Authority concert has raised over £12,000 to help fund the RNLI's essential life saving operation on the Thames.

PLA's Alan Cartwright with RNLI personnel
 
Members of the Tower Lifeboat Station crew with Alan Cartwright (seated, left) and (from left to right) Allie Preiss, Janet Kelly (Station Manager) and Stuart Willson
(click on image to enlarge)

Celebrities from the world of classical music and members of the Royal Family backed the fundraising event which marked the PLA's 100th birthday.

The money, collected from sponsorship, the sale of tickets, programmes, and on-the-night donations, is being given to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

Alan Cartwright, the port authority's Marine Engineer and the concert's producer said:

"The PLA has been crucial to the smooth running of the Port for 100 years, but we didn't just want to celebrate the authority's centenary, we also wanted to mark the major contribution that the Thames and the sea make to the culture and economy of London and the South East.

"From the start, we were keen that the event should raise money for a nautical charity, and the RNLI's rescue work was an obvious choice."

The concert, 'Celebrating London and the Sea', was held recently at Cadogan Hall in Chelsea.

The evening was hosted by soprano and Radio 3 presenter Catherine Bott.  The London Mozart Players and the City of London Choir were conducted by Hilary Davan Wetton. 

Joining Catherine, in songs of London and the sea, were soloists Frances Bourne, Adrian Ward and Julien Debreuil.  The trumpets of the Royal British Legion provided the fanfare opening and joined the audience and all performers in a rousing finale rendition of 'Rule Britannia'.

HRH the Duke of Kent and HRH Princess Alexandra were the PLA's guests of honour, having been welcomed by Cllr Hon. Joanna Gardner, Mayor of Kensington and Chelsea, who also welcomed Alderman Ian Luder, Lord Mayor of the City of London and Admiral of the Port.  Among the 600 strong audience were many members of staff and pensioners of the PLA, and friends of the RNLI.

Stuart Willson, the RNLI's fundraising and communications manager for London, said:
 
"The RNLI is proud to be the benefitting charity of the PLA's Centenary Concert.  We are so grateful to everyone who put the event together and to those who attended. The money raised will go towards training and equipping our volunteer crew members at our four lifeboat stations on the River Thames here in London."