My first jumbo cheque – and all the good it will help us to do

On Sunday night, I joined the great and good of Lancashire society at the final night of Northcote’s Obsession season. that’s me behind the big cheque, between Craig Jackson, Nigel Haworth, Craig Bancroft and Lisa Goodwin-Allen.

Obsession is an annual series of guest chef events that’s been attracting eminent chefs from around the world cook at the hotel since 2001. It’s the brainchild of Craig Bancroft and Nigel Haworth, the two men behind Northcote’s success.

This year’s Obsession line-up drew 21 chefs boasting a combined total of 16 Michelin stars to the hotel, among them HA patron and trustee Jason Atherton, Tom Kitchin, Gravetye Manor’s George Blogg and northwest sensation Gary Usher.

Northcote has long been committed to supporting the work of Hospitality Action. For the past few years, Craig and Nigel have run auctions across the Obsession season in aid of HA. Their support, along with the willingness on the part of their industry friends to offer up auction prizes and the generosity of their guests, has yielded some big donations.

Last weekend, though, things went nuclear. At 11pm on Sunday, you could hear the proverbial pin drop, as Craig prepared to announce the grand total. The amount? £65,000.

£65,000!

That was a suitably big number for my first big cheque.

Let me put that in a grants context – at HA, we’re all about resolution, about making problems go away.

With their donation, we can award 650 winter fuel grants, ensuring recipients are warm, well and work-ready. Alternatively, we can pay for walk-in shower installations for 50 people needing home adaptations due to disability. For just £500, we can lay on a respite holiday for the carer of a sick or disabled relative, meaning that Northcote’s generosity could underwrite 130 such trips. Then again, it could pay for 100 victims of domestic abuse to be resettled somewhere safe from harm.

You get the point.

The fantastic amount that Craig, Nigel, Craig, Lisa and the whole Northcote team have raised for us over the past three weeks will have a direct, transformative impact on the lives of numerous hospitality professionals who find themselves in crisis.

Fundraising doesn’t have to be about big numbers. All support is equally welcome and every pound helps. Would you like to help your industry colleagues? If so, please contact me on 07919 324978 or at mlewis@hospitalityaction.org.uk.