Dancing The Night Away For The Devon And Cornwall Peelers Charitable Trust
Grow Talk by Sofy Robertson
Grow were proud to attend the first annual charity dinner held in aid of the Devon and Cornwall Peelers Charitable Trust. Hosted at Woodbury Park Hotel and Golf Club, the evening held big promises and we were keen to find out more about the trust and its cause.
We arrived at the Hotel entrance and were greeted with a red carpet, photographer and fizz reception. Feeling rather glam, we made our way to the terrace to take in the beautiful view over the golf course and the valley beyond as the sun set.
A gong sounded to herald dinner and we made our way to table five. The room looked beautiful; white fabric was draped across the ceiling and every table had a silver candelabra at its centre. I must mention that the people too looked beautiful; everyone had embraced the black-tie theme and looked exceptionally smart. We took our seats and found out more about the people on table five.
Every table had a representative who wore a pin on their lapel with the emblem of the charity. We chatted to our rep, Ollie Abercrombie, about his role both in the police force and the charity.
“Our principle aims are to provide assistance in Devon and Cornwall, for young people, victims and witnesses of crime and vulnerable members of the community through grants to individuals or organisations. The idea is that we as a charity can give something back to the wider community of Devon and Cornwall and restore a smile on people’s faces during low points in their lives by giving acts of kindness. The charity may also provide donations to local charities and to community projects as the Trustees see fit.”
After the guests had settled, Celia Delaney, our host for the evening, took to the stage to welcome us. She began with some truly awful police jokes that had Drew, our Business Development Consultant, in stitches while the rest of us grimaced and Ollie put a hand over his lapel button in embarrassment.
We found out more about the charity through a short video which explained their aims. As Ollie said, the Trust works to assist young people, victims and witnesses of crime and vulnerable members of the community through grants. These grants could be cash, gifts, house hold items and more. The resounding message that both Ollie and Celia relayed was the charity’s main mission; to connect members of the Devon and Cornwall police to members of the public. This charity has people at its heart and Celia summarised by saying:
“It is about people helping people.”
After this, we watched a short awards ceremony where three members of the police force were honoured for their hard work and service.
The buzz of conversation resumed as we and the guests around us continued to find out more about those sat on our table and discussed what we had learned about the charity. We were served a three-course meal that more than lived up to the sparkle of the evening.
Warm, fresh bread arrived with cloud-like whipped butter to spread on it. There is something very humble about sharing bread, whether it is with people you have known for years or with complete strangers.
This was followed by smoked duck with lightly pickled vegetables and edible flowers. It all went down very well at our table.
The main course of chicken with watercress, whipped potato and spinach and bacon was served with a delicious gravy and a range of seasonal vegetables including yellow courgette and Romanesco cauliflower. With over a hundred guests to cater for, I would not have been surprised if the chicken was dry. I should not have doubted the Woodbury chefs’ skills; it was tender and delicious and all of the accompaniments were well chosen and well cooked.
With very little room left to fill, the deserts arrived: sticky toffee pudding with toffee sauce, ice cream and biscuit crumb. It was a beautiful way to end the meal.
As the plates were cleared and coffees and teas were arriving, the band took to the stage. The Mini Big Band struck up their lively swing music and Drew and I couldn’t keep still. We had to take to that dance floor. Unfortunately, we were the only ones! But we did receive a round of applause for our Strictly efforts. Our Editor, Joff, and our Head of Business Development and Events, Alice, decided to film our efforts, rather than join in.
As the evening wore on, the guests became a little braver and the floor began to get busier as the band played a fantastic variety of swing classics with their own special flare.
Later in the evening, the eleven-piece charity auction took place, which included some fantastic experiences like a day with the Devon and Cornwall Police with a tour of the firearms range and a chance to meet the police dogs.
Grow had a fantastic evening and met some truly wonderful people who work hard everyday to keep others safe. To celebrate further the hard work of the Devon and Cornwall Police, Grow will be taking part in a ‘ride-along’ with Ollie in October so stay tuned to experience a day in the life of a Torbay copper.
If you or someone you know has been affected by crime, they may be eligible for a grant from the Devon and Cornwall Peelers Charitable Trust. Applications can be submitted through a police officer or a staff member at the Devon and Cornwall Police. To donate your time, money or goods (as a business), get in contact with the trust here.
Photos by Sofy Robertson, Alice Bryan and Joff Alexander-Frye. Video by Joff Alexander-Frye.