11th Annual Dinner

Former West Indian Cricketer, Viv Richards, helps to make the Annual Dinner auction the best yet!

On Thursday 8 November, 430 guests came together to celebrate our 10th Anniversary Year at the Annual Dinner which was held at the Grange St. Paul's Hotel, London. This flagship event in the RREF calendar saw the launch of our major new initiative, the RREF Pathways to Property project, supported by British Land and The Sutton Trust. This project aims to increase diversity in the real estate industry through attracting a wide variety of bright students to study Real Estate and Planning courses at Reading. At the VIP reception, Reading's new Vice-Chancellor, Sir David Bell, had the chance to meet the 13 donor organisations funding the project and key alumni involved on the board.

The black tie evening began with a reunion reception for those guests celebrating 10 and 20 years since graduating, while other guests caught up with old friends from their university days and networked with colleagues in the industry.

The highlight of the evening was the after dinner auction, where we were delighted to have a star prize as a last minute lot. By a stroke of luck, non-other than Sir Viv Richards, former West Indian cricketer, was staying in the hotel - a favourite with national cricket and rugby teams. Our Executive Director, Nicole Gillham, spotted an opportunity to add a unique prize to the auction and, running across the road to a nearby sports shop, purchased a cricket bat which she then persuaded Sir Viv to sign. He was entirely charming and very kindly signed the bat to be auctioned, as well as posing for a few photos!

The bidding war for this unique prize commenced later in the evening between brothers Gerald Kaye, Development Director, Helical Bar (BSc Estate Management, 1979) and Nicholas Kaye, Chairman, Canfield Investments Ltd (BSc Land Management, 1981), two staunch cricket fans! Gerald prevailed at first with his £1,000 bid, but, very generously, offered to return the bat to be auctioned off again, after which it was snapped up by Nicholas.

The quick thinking to secure the signed bat added £1,800 to the total raised from the auction. This included a Barry Cowan Wimbledon Experience, wine tasting experience at the Vintner for 12 people and a Mercedes Benz F1 AMG driving experience and overnight accommodation at the Brooklands Hotel & Spa, totalling £5,425, the highest amount raised from the Annual Dinner auction to date.

We would like to thank all of our guests and our event sponsor, Europa Capital, for their very kind and generous support and we look forward to seeing you all again next year for the 12th Annual Dinner.

For more information about the Pathways to Property project, click here.

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