Charity event in a stunning venue

On Saturday I had the pleasure of shooting an event at the beautiful and historic Waldorf Astoria Hotel in the heart of London’s theatre district. The event was for a charity called Project Harar ( a charity that I had not heard of until I had a call from my friend Matt Fisher. Matt runs a successful photography studio in London Colney called Photographic Synergy ( and is one of the major supporters of Project Harar, completing challenge events and donating prizes to the gala dinner. The Project was set up by founder Jonathan Crown in the early 2000’s after a visit to Ethiopia and its mission is to offer surgical procedures to individuals in Ethiopia with facial disfigurements. I learnt a lot about their great work on the night and it was a pleasure to meet their founder Jonathan and many of their supporters including Patron Lady Arwen Hurt.

The evening started with a drinks reception in the fantastic Palm Court of the Waldorf Astoria with piano music and magicians working the room. Lots for a silent auction encircled the room offering a variety of ways for guests to support the charity. The atmosphere built as excitable guests arrived and Palm Court slowly filled up.

The guests then moved into the Ballroom where they would sit down to a three course meal, learn a bit more about the charity through a couple of speeches and videos, take part in a Grand Auction and finally dance the night away with music from a DJ. The magicians also followed the guests through and continued to “wow” them with routines ranging from card tricks to passing glass bottles through the middle of the tables. One of the most popular tricks involved a burst of flames as two pieces of rope are rejoined into one whole rope again, having previously been cut in half by the audience member. British antiques expert, BBC presenter and auctioneer Charlie Ross conducted a fun game of Head or Tails (where contestants had to choose between two answers to a question by either putting their hands on their heads or their bottoms) before brilliantly conducting the Grand Auction for the big ticket items with lots of laughs along the way. Some of the incredible things up for auction included trips abroad with business class flights, stays in unique cottages or famous hotels and a tour of the Maranello Ferrari factory.

The VIPs for the evening were nurse Lara Tang and Dr Lucy Lester, two of the medical volunteer team who stood up to describe the work they carried out in Ethiopia on behalf of Project Harar. Needless to say both received standing ovations for their fantastic work in supporting the charity and both finished by vowing to continue that work and spreading the word to their colleagues. The room was captivated by their passion for the cause and the stories of the people who they had helped. A short film followed which hit the message home further by introducing some of the people Lara and Lucy spoke about, following the story of their successful surgeries and the positive impact it had on their lives afterwards.

The night finished on the dance floor as revellers boogied the night away and the announcement was made that a fantastic £175K had been raised from the evening.

If you would like to find out more about the wonderful work done by Project Harar then please do pay a visit to their website