Children First Derby celebrated the hugely successful return of its popular Annual Fundraising Luncheon, held on 28th June at Morley Hayes Derby, which raised crucial funds to help support local vulnerable children, young people, and families.

The event was attended by over 80 people including prominent local business leaders and dignitaries, with guests of honour including the Deputy Mayor of Derby, Councillor Ged Potter.

Derbyshire born actress Gwen Taylor, who is also a patron of Children First Derby, has appeared in many British television programmes including Duty Free, Barbara, Heartbeat, Coronation Street and Eastenders, attended the luncheon as the guest speaker.

She delivered a funny and emotional speech, sharing stories from her time acting which had the audience both laughing and crying. Gwen was happy to chat with anyone that wanted to speak to her, and even gave tips to aspiring actress and mentoring volunteer Mia Luft, who helps run the drama group at Children First Derby.

“It was a fantastic experience speaking to Gwen and I found her insight on drama schools and how to get experience invaluable. I hope to be as successful as her one day!” said Mia.

As an extra surprise, Gwen brought along her leaving gift from her most recent stint on Eastenders, an Albert Square sign, signed by all the cast to show the luncheon guests.

“It was lovely to hear about Gwen’s life in theatre and acting, she was a pleasure to listen to and made the crowd smile and we are lucky to have her as a patron.”  Louise Web, Fundraising Coordinator at Children First Derby.

As part of the event, guests enjoyed a two-course luncheon, served in the Pavilion. The charity’s fundraising team led fundraising activities throughout the afternoon, which included a raffle and bonus ball game.

“We were delighted to see so many people from the local community come together at our luncheon. We rely on public funding and fundraising events such as these to operate our Mentoring and Family Support Services. Thank you to everyone who attended and everyone that helped make the event a success.” added Louise.

Thanks also went to the all the staff at Morley Hayes, who worked hard to help make the event a success and generously provided all guests with a complementary reception drink on arrival.