“Life has a lot to do with luck – the benevolence of it for some of us and the brutality of it for others,” said the late Paul Newman.
Since its establishment in Connecticut 31 years ago, the charity SeriousFun Children’s Network has provided more than a million free recreational camp holidays for seriously ill children and their families around the world. This month – more than a decade after the death of its founder Paul Newman – the organisation, with his daughter Clea Newman as an ambassador, throws its first fundraising “Campfire Bash” in London.
On November 14, guests will be welcomed with a canapé reception at the Grade I-listed Great Gallery of London’s Tobacco Docks, where they will be able to experience first-hand some of the camp activities children take part in at SeriousFun camps worldwide – from dancing around the campfire to making a wish at the camp’s Wishing Tree. A three-course meal paired with Domaine de la Source wines will be hosted fireside and followed by a show featuring an appearance from Steve Coogan and performances by singer-songwriters Diane Birch and Damien Rice.
Guests wishing to contribute will be able to bid at a silent auction or buy raffle tickets. The auction prizes include two VIP tickets to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in New York City (reserve £500) and two box tickets to a premier concert event at the O2 (reserve £250). All profits from the auction and raffle support the organisation.
The SeriousFun camps help children overcome the limitations of illness and build self-esteem, coping strategies and peer relationships. According to an evaluation by Yale University’s Child Study Centre, more than three-quarters of parents reported an increase in children’s confidence and independence after attending its events.
Ticket prices range from £200 for a standard pass to £25,000 for a Hell Raiser Table. A percentage of the ticket price – from 25 per cent for the standard option to more than 93 per cent for VIP tickets – goes to the SeriousFun Network.