Charity supporters walk the rooms of Downton Abbey

Last Thursday we offered our guests the opportunity to tour Highclere Castle in West Berkshire, to lunch and have afternoon tea at The Vineyard at Stockcross and we raised £13,000 for Hospitality Action.

We ran this event for the first time in 2017 and for the second year running we sold out in just a few weeks. We love organising this popular event because it opens the doors to new supporters, who are prepared to travel for miles for the opportunity to tour Highclere, enjoy a Champagne reception and a fabulous three-course lunch with paired wines at The Vineyard.

Chef Robby Jenks once again prepared the most exquisite menu not just for the lunch, but also for the array of sweet treats for the afternoon tea, which was gladly received upon the return from the castle tour.

The Vineyard Hotel, a Relais & Châteaux 5 star hotel and spa, is renowned for its impeccable service, 3 AA Rosette restaurant and award-winning, 30,000-bottle wine cellar. All guests highly praised chef Robby Jenks and his brigade.

Even the short coach journey to Highclere Castle was enjoyed, driving through the beautiful countryside, taking in the green fields dotted with sheep and new born baby lambs, one of the sure signs of spring, to finally reveal a stunning country house set within a 5,000-acre estate in Hampshire, the country retreat of the Earl of Carnarvon. Highclere was a filming location for the British comedy series Jeeves and Wooster and it was also more recently used as the main location for the award-winning period drama Downton Abbey. We even had an actor amongst our guests, a proud extra who took part in many episodes in the series and proved to be quite a character.

This year we also offered a visit to the Egyptian Exhibition, which highlighted the 5th Earl of Carnarvon’s role in discovering the Tomb of the Egyptian Boy Pharaoh, Tutankhamun, in 1922 with his colleague, Howard Carter. We all learned something new that day and those of us who love history, came away a little bit curious.

In the words of one of our guests: “We had a wonderful day at Highclere Castle and the food and the service at The Vineyard were outstanding, we will definitely come back! Today we were introduced to Hospitality Action and feel privileged to have attended this fundraiser and to have contributed to such a great cause, we will make sure we support your charity in the future!”

The raffle and live auction raised £13,000 and we are hugely grateful to Greenclose Hotels Limited, The Marylebone, Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane, Tyddyn Llan, The House near Bath, Firmdale Hotels, CH&Co and Sidoli who donated prizes.

We are extremely grateful to The Vineyard for hosting the event, to Taittinger Champagne for providing the bubbles for the drinks reception and to Hatch Mansfield for pairing up wines with the menu. We thank all of our sponsors for continuing to support our fundraising efforts and contributing with such special care and attention to ensure our event offer experiences to remember.

The funds raised will be used directly to support our charity work, to provide a much needed support, often a lifeline, to current and former hospitality industry workers who find themselves in difficult times, both at work and in their personal lives.

The reality is that hospitality is everywhere in our lives and we believe that the hard working people offering hospitality should not remain faceless or suffer in silence. After all how can you deliver great service with a smile if you don’t feel like smiling?

If you would like to be informed about our work and attend future events, please sign up to our newsletter here.

If you would like to get involved, donate a prize, nominate us as your charity or have an idea, we would love to hear from you fundraising@hospitalityaction.org.uk

Author: Maria Carter

Fundraising and Marketing Executive at Hospitality Action