Football manager Sam Allardyce found himself double-booked recently with a couple of Sunday engagements in the east of the country.
One was an invitation from the East Neuk Wheelchair Appeal to attend as principal guest at its annual gala dinner.
A great night was had by all – now it’s down to planning for next year.Eleanor Bowman MBE
The other was the small matter of a local derby between visitors Newcastle United, one of Sam’s old teams, and Sunderland – the club which had appointed him as manager just days earlier.
The Black Cats won the Tyne and Wear clash 3-0 – and victorious boss Sam joined the fund-raisers and guests later in the evening to fulfil his commitment to the East Neuk group’s fundraising showpiece, in which he was interviewed by music author, radio BBC radio and Sky Arts television presenter Edith Bowman.
The event was held in the Fairmont, St Andrews, with over 200 people in attendance.
Eleanor Bowman MBE – Edith’s mother and one of the principal event organisers, as well as a main figure behind the East Neuk group – said everyone deeply appreciated Sam’s willingness to attend, particularly after such an important match.
The East Neuk appeal has been running since 1989 and has raised over £500,000.
Over the years, the money has helped buy powered wheelchairs, scooters, recliners and manual chairs for people with a variety of mobility needs, as well as contributing to other valid causes.
The event was chaired by comedian Andy Cameron, with a fine after-dinner speech by Eric Brown.
Adger Brown was the auctioneer – helping to raise over £17,000.
A tip to Mammoth Mountain in California went for £1750, while a Manchester United signed shirt fetched £350 and a collage with signed Open Championship flag from five-times champion Tom Watson raised £650. A red carpet night at Scottish Baftas – to be hosted by Edith on November 15 – went for £750.
There were meal vouchers for local restaurants The Cellar and Rockies Restaurant in Anstruther Golf Club, plus Cromar’s in St Andrews, along with bed and breakfast at Fairmont, bed and breakfast with golf at Drumoig Hotel and Golf Club, plus golf at many local courses.
Paying tribute to all the helpers on the night, Eleanor added: “We are so thankful to the businesses and individuals who, every year, sponsor or donate prizes for our auction and raffle, and to our supporters who come along on the night and bid for all the items. A great night was had by all – now it’s down to planning for next year.”