31 October 2022

After a break of three years, it was wonderful to be able to host the Gala Dinner evening once again. We were joined by businesses and individuals from the local community, celebrating the theme ‘Building a Legacy for Young People in Devon’. With a glass of fizz in hand and looking very glamourous, the 140 guests were welcomed by the YMCA Exeter team to the evening, which included a three-course dinner and music from the Honest John Band.
Emma Osmundsen, our previous Chair of Trustees and now President of YMCA Europe gave the keynote speech, accompanied, on his 201st birthday, by George Williams (aka Dr Tom Browne!), residents and our Ten:10 international volunteers. The team sketched out a potted history of 176 years of YMCA Exeter bringing in up to date footage of Sidwell Studios and the development of our latest projects.  
The Silent Auction that had been running online for the previous two weeks was fiercely contested during the evening and completed at just under an amazing £4,500. 
We launched our Legacy Giving campaign at the dinner, inviting guests to leave a legacy gift to YMCA Exeter in their Will.  Partnering with Guardian Angel, we are able to offer a free, professional will-writing service, protecting families and continuing our work into the future.  We watched the moving story of Dan, from homeless to homeowner and his story can be found here.  Dan and his wife Becky joined us at the dinner, and I know they both enjoyed chatting to other guests and dancing the night away!
It really was an enjoyable event and in total, we raised over £10,000 as well as strengthening and growing our links with our corporate, church and existing friends.  What do we do after such a lovely and successful evening? We are already planning the Gala Dinner 2023…watch this space!