Charities benefit from property professionals’ annual gathering

Twelve charities across the Portsmouth region are set to benefit from thousands of pounds raised in one night by 200 property professionals.

More than £4,600 was raised at Portsmouth Property Association’s (PPA) annual charity dinner, held at The Royal Maritime Club on Friday evening (24thFebruary).

The event, sponsored by Portsmouth legal firm Verisona Law, included guest speaker Michael Portillo, the TV broadcaster, journalist and former Conservative politician.

In a surprise presentation for his 25 years of continuous service to the association, which has a record 170 members, PPA secretary Neil Hawkins was given a standing ovation.

In honour of his commitment to the PPA and the city region, Neil was gifted a painting of two iconic Royal Navy ships, HMS Victory and HMS Temeraire, both of which fought in the historic Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 under the command of Admiral Lord Nelson, who was killed in action.

In a glowing tribute by Rob Marchant, a former PPA chairman, Neil was described to guests as the “glue” which has held the PPA together and made it such a success.

Neil, a director at chartered surveyors Chandler Hawkins in Portsmouth, took on the administrative role in 1992, the year Conservative Prime Minister John Major returned a small majority, Silence of the Lambs was a hit horror-thriller film and Shakespears Sister topped the music charts with Stay.

He was rendered speechless by the surprise.

Clive Emson, the chairman of Clive Emson Auctioneers and a familiar figure in TV’s popular Homes Under the Hammer series, took bids in the grand charity auction of 10 donated lots – the highest bid of £500 was for a trip to the skyscraper Shard in London followed by lunch for two at Gordon Ramsay’s Savoy Grill.

Two signed reprints of Mr Portillo’s treasured 1863 British railways guide book,Bradshaw’s, which inspired the hit TV series he fronts, sold for £130 and £120.

In an entertaining – and sometimes serious – speech, he recounted self-deprecating stories of his political career as an unseated MP, Cabinet Minister and being part of a growing band of “former future Prime Ministers”.

Regarding his TV broadcasting experiences, he explained the reason why the original Bradshaw’s is kept in a children’s lunchbox, decorated with Thomas the Tank stickers, for safekeeping.

It is only entrusted to his hands by an assistant during filming because, reverently holding the hardback for the first time, Mr Portillo had promptly dropped it, splitting the book in two.

Steve Cripps, the first high street banker to hold the position of PPA chairman, and only the second chairman to have served a consecutive term of office at the PPA since being founded in 1920, said it was a great night.

Steve, who works for NatWest, added: “PPA members have once again shown their generosity to charities which touch thousands of lives across the Portsmouth region, a place we are all proud to work and live in.”

There are 12 charities the PPA is supporting. They are Portsmouth Area Talking News; Portsmouth Autism Support Network; QAH Portsmouth Neonatal Unit; Groundlings Theatre; Tonic Music for Mental Health; Hilsea Lido Trust; Portsmouth Family Welfare; Horizon Angling Club; South East Hampshire Community Outlook; Charter Academy Parent Council; Friends Without Borders and St Cuthbert’s Helping Hands.

PPA members include estate, lettings and property management agents, commercial property agents, chartered surveyors, developers, accountants, solicitors and bankers.

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