More than 500 Nightingale Hammerson supporters gathered at the City’s Guildhall on Monday 15th January for the charity’s 2018 fundraising dinner, ‘celebrating great lives, great care and great plans’.

Presenter for the evening, newsreader and broadcaster Natasha Kaplinsky discussed the sector of philanthropy and social care in which Nightingale Hammerson is an industry leader “in conversation” with Michael Grade, Chairman of the Charity Fundraising Regulator, in front of an audience of distinguished guests including Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Sir Trevor and Lady Pears, Sir Stuart and Lady Lipton and many other leading community personalities.

The guests displayed exceptional generosity, donating £1.25 million which will contribute significantly towards maintaining the excellent facilities and standard of care at the charity’s two residential care homes, Nightingale House in South London and Hammerson House in North London, which is currently undergoing an extensive redevelopment.

Speaking at the event, Lord Grade commended Nightingale Hammerson as an example of good practice in social care: “Charities like Nightingale Hammerson are doing a vital job of taking care of our older people. Organisations such as these contribute a great deal to their communities; it’s heart-warming to see so many of you here tonight supporting their work. Long may it continue.”

Nightingale Hammerson Chairman Melvin Lawson addressed the theme of this year’s dinner ‘Celebrating great lives, great care, great plans’ when he said that Nightingale Hammerson’s reputation for delivering person-centred care helped residents to “create a home from home where they feel respected and valued”. Reflecting on the organisation’s 175-year history in caring for older members of London’s Jewish community, he added: “It is our honour to bring light to each and every person in our care.”

A highlight of the evening was a moving tribute to the late Gerald Lipton MBE, former Chairman and latterly Life-President of Nightingale Hammerson, by former CEO Leon Smith, who highlighted his “spectacular” involvement with the charity. “Everything he did was motivated by one thing only. To do whatever he possibly could to improve facilities, care, and the well-being of the residents,” he added, in the presence of many of Gerald’s family members.

Speaking after the video appeal, Nightingale Hammerson President Harvey Rosenblatt paid tribute to “Nightingale Hammerson’s reputation for providing meaningful, quality care which allows our residents to live their lives to the very fullest”. The organisation’s success, he added, was in large part due to the residents themselves and the pride they take in Nightingale Hammerson.

Resident Ann Rowe, who until her arrival at Nightingale House four years ago was wheelchair-bound and unable to move independently, climbed the stairs to the stage with the aid of Nightingale Hammerson Senior Physiotherapist Michael Stokes to praise of the dedicated in-house physiotherapy team who enabled her to accomplish walking the final 40 metres of a 5k sponsored event last year.

Another resident present was Walter Goldstein, accompanied by his daughter and his former student Paul Bristow, who credits Walter with “saving him from going off the rails”. Paul, now in his 40s, had given up on ever being reunited with his mentor, when he heard his old teacher on a radio broadcast in July at the launch of Apples & Honey Nightingale, Nightingale House’s on-site nursery. As a result of the inspirational intergenerational project, they were reunited and they are now in regular touch once again.