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Charity kitchen takeover at the Arora

Crawley Town Mayor Cllr Brian Quinn and his wife Sue were among the guests at Friday night’s charity dinner at the hotel in aid of Springboard.

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Frank and his wife Sandra with Crawley Town Mayor and Mayoress Cllr Brian and Sue Quinn, and Arora Hotel Operations Manager Laura Walker

Well-known chef Frank Coughlan took over the kitchens at the Arora Hotel in Crawley to prepare a four-course banquet in aid of Springboard, the hospitality sector’s charity which helps to nurture young unemployed into work.

Crawley Town Mayor Cllr Brian Quinn and his wife Sue were among the guests at Friday night’s charity dinner at the hotel to help Frank, from Horley, raise money and to wish him `bon voyage’ as he sets off this week to join the Springboard annual trek to Vietnam. The chef has already raised around £21,000 for the charity. When he is out in Vietnam, Frank will be helping to rebuild a school in the poor province of Ham Yen.

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Back in the UK, the Springboard charity will use this money to support 70 people who face hardship and difficulties, giving them a chance to join one of its life-changing programmes.

Frank said:

“My target was £3,500, but I managed to smash that with thanks to all my friends and supporters within the hospitality sector.

“Friday’s dinner at the Arora Hotel was an amazing finale to what has been quite a journey already. A huge thank you to the Arora and its executive head chef Tony Staples and his team for letting me take over their kitchens and helping to make the night such a success.”

Frank Coughlan prepares the starter

Frank is currently the executive head chef of BaxterStorey, overseeing the BA Lounge contract throughout the UK, but has been head chef at an impressive list of high profile venues in his 30-plus year career, including Wembley Stadium, Arsenal and Chelsea Football clubs and the All England Lawn Tennis Club, and has more than 40 catering awards to his name.

He set himself the Springboard challenge after losing 10 stone in weight, which he said “made me feel 10 years younger”.

Crawley Town Mayor Cllr Quinn told guests at the dinner:

“It is a pleasure to return to the Arora and experience its excellent hospitality once again, and to be here to support Frank – it is so great to see a former pupil of St Wilfrid’s (Crawley secondary school) doing so well.”

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Largest charity Dragon Boat race at Tilgate Park ever!

This year’s festival was the hospice’s biggest ever to date, with more teams than ever before taking to the lake.

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St Catherine’s Hospice annual Dragon Boat Festival returned to Tilgate Park with a splash yesterday (Sunday 9 September), in a fantastic day of free family fun!

Credit: SARA FERMORE AND TOBY PHILLIPS PHOTOGRAPHY.

Teams were made up of local businesses, including Crawley teams: Irwin Mitchell, Elekta, Grant Thornton, UK Power Networks, B&CE, CAE Training & Services, Vines BMW & Mini, Childcare & Learning Cranbrook, Inspiration Healthcare, KPMG, Search, Siemens, Smith & Western, St Catherine’s Hospice, Thales, Virgin Media, Novo Nordisk, and Oriel High School
who battled it out to be crowned Dragon Boat Champions 2018.

Credit: SARA FERMORE AND TOBY PHILLIPS PHOTOGRAPHY.

Speaking on the day, George De Silvo, Corporate Associate from Irwin Mitchell said:

“The Irwin Mitchell team has really enjoyed getting involved with the Dragon Boat Festival. St Catherine’s is our Charity of the Year and so we’ve been raising funds for them since January. Hearing about the Dragon Boat Festival got the whole office excited and motivated to do as much as we can to help such a great cause. I’m so pleased our Noah’s Ark survived!”

Credit: SARA FERMORE AND TOBY PHILLIPS PHOTOGRAPHY.

Ian Watson, Head of Software Engineering at Elekta said,

“We’ve been taking part in Dragon Boats for many years. It’s a big event and brings so many people from local businesses and the local community together for a great cause. What St Catherine’s does resonates a lot with what we do at Elekta, helping people at a moment of need in their lives. The hospice is a great cause to support.”

St Catherine’s team, Credit: SARA FERMORE AND TOBY PHILLIPS PHOTOGRAPHY.

Grant Thornton were another Crawley team competing. Between races, John O’Mahony, Partner at Grant Thornton, said:

“We’re very proud to be associated with St Catherine’s Hospice. They do wonderful work and we’ve had great fun fundraising. Our team ‘Sea’s the Day’ are making great progress during our heats and we’re feeling very optimistic!”

Credit: SARA FERMORE AND TOBY PHILLIPS PHOTOGRAPHY.

Those on the shorelines tried their luck at traditional fête games such as hook a duck and a penalty shootout, whilst younger visitors sprung into action on giant inflatables. Visitors also tucked into tasty food from onsite vendors and enjoyed refreshing drinks from the onsite bar, provided by Sussex Event Bars, who donated a percentage of profits to St Catherine’s.

Credit: SARA FERMORE AND TOBY PHILLIPS PHOTOGRAPHY.

On the lake, teams showed true team spirit as they raced across the water in Chinese Dragon Boats.

DHL team, Credit: Sara Fermore and Toby Phillips Photography.

After a full day of races, DHL Express powered through to be crowned champions, with a winning time of 57 seconds, which was two seconds faster than last year’s winners.

The Elekta Crew, Credit: SARA FERMORE AND TOBY PHILLIPS PHOTOGRAPHY.

Amanda Phelan, Operations Manager at DHL Express, said:

“This is our third year competing and it’s always such a lovely, fantastic day. The second year we took part we came in at second place so we were here to win today. And we’re thrilled we managed it!”

Grant Thornton, Credit: SARA FERMORE AND TOBY PHILLIPS PHOTOGRAPHY.

Close behind, in second place, were Vines Ltd with Vines Beemer taking the third place trophy.

Vines Beemer, Credit: Sara Fermore and Toby Phillips Photography.

Winning teams were presented with medals and trophies by Giles Tomsett, Chief Executive at St Catherine’s, and The Worshipful Mayor of Crawley, Councillor Carlos Portal Castro.

Vines MINIons, Credit: SARA FERMORE AND TOBY PHILLIPS PHOTOGRAPHY.

Vines of Gatwick proudly sponsored the festival, alongside entering two teams. Darren Buche, MINI

Sales Executive at Vines of Gatwick said:

“Every year, we have a fantastic day at St Catherine’s Dragon Boat Festival. It’s been great seeing even more teams competing this year to show their support for the amazing work St Catherine’s does caring for people in the community around us. It’s a fun day out for us as colleagues and it’s brilliant to raise money for such a worthwhile cause. We’re pleased that our efforts will help more people in our community in the future. We’re already looking forward to signing up for next year’s race!”

Credit: SARA FERMORE AND TOBY PHILLIPS PHOTOGRAPHY.

St Catherine’s Dragon Boat Festival is one of the local hospice’s biggest annual fundraisers. The event will help them provide expert end of life care to local terminally ill people and their friends and family, when life comes full circle. Currently, the hospice can only care for one in three people. But with the support of the community at events like Dragon Boats, the hospice wants to make sure that nobody faces death and loss alone.

Credit: SARA FERMORE AND TOBY PHILLIPS PHOTOGRAPHY.

Suzanne Davis, Corporate Fundraiser at St Catherine’s, said:

“We’d like to thank everyone who supported or took part in this year’s Dragon Boat Festival. Your efforts take us a step nearer to reaching everyone who needs us. We hope you all enjoyed the day as much as we did!

UK Power Networks, Credit: Sara Fermore and Toby Phillips Photography.

To find out about future St Catherine’s events, or how you can support the hospice, visit: www.stch.org.uk.

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