The London Press Club Ball will move from autumn to summer this year and plans to expand, according to organisers who revealed it raised £20,000 for the Journalists’ Charity last year.
The total was aided in part by ex-Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre’s decision to donate £5,000 back to the charity. The cash sum had been raised by organisers and was given to Dacre to donate to a cause of his choosing.
Dacre, who stepped down as Mail editor in September, was named the ball’s first ever “journalist laureate” at the ceremony, which was held at the V&A Museum in London and attended by some 400 media and other guests.
This year’s ball will take place on 7 June 2019 at Grosvenor House in Mayfair, London.
The ball, in its current form, was originally planned as a summer event. It was due to be held on 7 July 2005, but had to be cancelled when the 7/7 bombers attacked the capital that day, killing more than 50 people.
Instead it was rescheduled for October, when it has been held ever since.
This year the ball is also looking to provide a number of more affordable tickets to supporting news organisations aimed at younger journalists. Tickets are typically upwards of £200 each.
Chief executive of event partner SJH Group, Richard Freed, said he was expecting more than 1,000 guests to attend the ball this year and hoped to make it the “most successful one yet”.
He added: “We will be looking to make the ball as inclusive as possible whilst keeping the high standards and prestige of the night at the level it has built up over the past 15 years.”
Since taking over the event four years ago, London Press Club chairmen Ray Massey and Robert Jobson have helped raise more than £100,000 for the Journalists’ Charity.
“The aim of the ball is to put fun into fundraising,” they said.
“For one night only the leading lights of the nation’s media – from Fleet Street and broadcasters to news agencies and bloggers – can get together to enjoy themselves in convivial surroundings for a great night of schmoozing and gossip.
“But behind all the enjoyment is a serious aim to help swell the coffers of the Journalists’ Charity which helps those of our trade who fall on hard times, whether through ill-health, unemployment or sheer bad luck.”
Journalists’ Charity chairman Jill Palmer said: “The London Press Club Ball is a major fundraiser for the Journalists’ Charity and we want to thank both the ball’s organisers, the London Press Club and SJH Group, for making it such a success last year.
“It is not easy to raise money to help journalists who hit rock bottom with financial and/or health problems…
“We hope that this year’s ball will be an equal success and allow us to provide more grants to hard-hit journalists and enable them to survive until they sort out their lives.”
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Picture: Lucy Young/London Press Club