ON CUE: From left, PPA chairman Danny Smith, former world snooker champion Dennis Taylor and Lorraine Blackburn from the Ickle Pickles charity. More than £6,000 has been raised for charity as the voice of property in the Portsmouth region marked its 90th anniversary in style.
Money raised from Portsmouth Property Association’s (PPA) annual charity dinner at Fratton Park, which attracted 240 members and guests, goes to Ickle Pickles.
The charity helps fund specialised equipment, such as incubators and ventilators, for premature babies in intensive care neonatal units.
PPA chairman Danny Smith, who hands over the ceremonial chain to vice-chairman Steve Cripps later this month, nominated Ickle Pickles as the chosen charity for his year-long tenure.
Money raised on the night included £600 paid in auction for an original match-day programme and rosette from the World Cup Final between England West Germany in 1966.
Hilarious storytelling by guest speaker Dennis Taylor, a BBC snooker commentator and former world champion, was the main highlight.
He famously beat Steve Davis from behind in 1985 on the last black after a 17:17-frame nail-biter, with 18.5 million people glued to their TVs into the early hours to watch the 86-minute decider at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.
Rob Marchant, event organiser and a former PPA chairman, said: “We all had a great night – Dennis was simply an outstanding speaker who brought the house down with his anecdotes. People had tears of laughter rolling down their cheeks.
“Money being raised from our event, including the auction and raffle, for Ickle Pickles is still coming in – it is currently at £6,000.”
Neonatal staff at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth – the PPA invited ten of them along as VIP guests – were also treated to a huge round of applause.
Poignantly, the event last Friday evening (February 27th) was graced by Waterlooville mother Lorraine Blackburn, who has raised more than £200,000 to date in the South for Ickle Pickles.
Lorraine’s son Owen lost his fight for life after three months in September 2009, having been born at 26 weeks and weighing just 1Ib 10oz – equivalent to a bag of sugar.
She said: “The generosity and kindness shown by PPA members, and from Dennis, will always be appreciated by us here at Ickle Pickles. They are helping little babies who are very poorly and need all the medical help they can to live.”
Toasts were given by Lord Mayor Councillor Steven Wylie, Danny and Steve, with renowned charity auctioneer Clive Emson, of Clive Emson Auctioneers, doing the honours for the event auction.
PPA has more than 140 members, including estate, lettings and property management agents, commercial property agents, chartered surveyors, developers, accountants, solicitors and bankers.
The PPA was established in 1920, when King George V reigned, Lloyd George was Prime Minister and the body of The Unknown Warrior from the First World War arrived from France for symbolic burial in Westminster Abbey.