December 11 2015.

BEN, the automotive industry charity, hosted its annual BEN Ball on Wednesday evening, raising £256,000 with this figure expected to rise even further in the coming days. The funds generated will be invaluable in providing practical, emotional and financial support to those employed in the automotive industry and their dependants.

The Ball was opened by a superb ball-room dancing display by 2008 Strictly Come Dancing winner Tom Chambers and partner for the evening, Ali Brooke. This was followed by a full evening of entertainment, including a rousing session by the Band of the Irish Guards and a show-stopping performance by the cast of the West End hit Jersey Boys.

Guests were treated to a four-course meal as they enjoyed the annual event at Grosvenor House, London. Fundraising activity throughout the event included the ever-popular auction and reverse bingo, but the main event of the night was the silent auction. Thanks to a vast number of generous donations from across the automotive industry and beyond, the auction contained a huge variety of fantastic prizes, from a 6 night safari, a Suzuki GSX-R Moto GP Special to a F1 model made from genuine F1 engine components, which alone raised £6,500. The star prize of the night was the newly-launched Volvo XC90 TB, which after a fierce battle, eventually raised £70,000 for BEN.

Will Murphy and his partner, Tracey, from Newcastle, were invited to the ball to speak about their experience with BEN. Will said: “It was an honour to attend the ball and speak about the overwhelming support we have received from BEN. Until recently, I couldn’t imagine attending an event like this, talking about my experience in front of so many people from the automotive industry, it would have been impossible. Thanks to the generosity and warmth of BEN and its supporters, I’m well on the road to recovery and feel fitter, stronger and more able to cope with things. I hope that I can continue to be an example of the amazing support I received from BEN. Attending the BEN ball has been the experience of a lifetime and I am so grateful.”

David Main, BEN’s CEO, commented: “The BEN Ball is our most important event of the year as it raises vital income for us to continue to support our Industry, enabling us to provide free information, advice and guidance to help keep everyone mentally, financially, socially and physically fit.”

He continued, “We were thrilled at the incredibly generous donations to the silent auction and to everybody who supported the night, from contributors, to guests, to the BEN team, thank you so much for your support, which will be vital in supporting our valuable work over the coming year.”