Record breakers

The Jewish Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BY ROSA DO­HERTY

Sky News pre­sen­ter Kay Bur­ley hosted Jewish Care’s fundrais­ing din­ner, which raised a record £5.25m, on Monday. Lord Levy, the char­ity’s pres­i­dent, paid trib­ute to out­go­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Si­mon Mor­ris

AN EL­DERLY Jewish Care client moved guests at the char­ity’s an­nual cam­paign din­ner to tears as he de­scribed how the char­ity sup­ported him af­ter he lost his wife.

Tony Fisher told the 1,000 guests at Monday’s event, which raised a record break­ing £5.25 mil­lion, how his wife Amelia, who “was ev­ery­thing to me”, died and he grew lonely.

In a pre-recorded film, in­tro­duced by din­ner host Kay Bur­ley of Sky News, he said: “I’m 89 years old and I live on my own in Mile End. We grew up round here.

“It used to be such a big Jewish com­mu­nity. It was the hap­pi­est place to be and Amelia was the best part of it. We laughed to­gether. We cried to­gether.”

Mrs Fisher died fol­low­ing a short ill­ness, Mr Fisher said. “They took her into hos­pi­tal and that is where it all ended. The last words she said to me were ‘Tony’ and then that was it,” he told guests at Grosvenor House in Cen­tral Lon­don.

“When I came back home it felt empty. No one wanted to talk to an old man like me.”

Mr Fisher and his wife at­tended Jewish Care’s Bren­ner Cen­tre at Step­ney Com­mu­nity Cen­tre be­fore she died.

He said they be­came his sec­ond fam­ily fol­low­ing her death.

“They pick me up on the bus ev­ery day and take me to the cen­tre in Step­ney.

“They can’t come quick enough. I am around friends; I can chat and have a cup of tea. I have peo­ple I can spend fes­ti­vals and Shab­bat with and it makes me feel Jewish again. If it wasn’t for the club I wouldn’t know where to turn. I would be lost.”

He told the guests: “It can’t bring Amelia back, but when I am at the club I feel like she is still be­side me.”

Other films de­scribed how the char­ity helps 10,000 peo­ple and needs £15m a year to con­tinue op­er­at­ing.

One high­lighted the progress of a new Jewish Care cam­pus on the site of the Princess Alexan­dra home in Stan­more, which promised to “pro­vide an out­stand­ing range of ac­com­mo­da­tion for the south Hert­ford­shire com­mu­nity”. The pro­ject will cost £47m, with no gov­ern­ment fund­ing.

Around £7m has still to be raised.

It was the last fundrais­ing din­ner for Si­mon Mor­ris, Jewish Care’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, who is stand­ing down af­ter 20 years at the char­ity.

In an in­ter­view with Ms Bur­ley, Lord Levy, pres­i­dent of Jewish Care, said: “Si­mon is a won­der­ful guy who has done an amaz­ing job for Jewish Care, tak­ing the or­gan­i­sa­tion to new heights, and mak­ing it recog­nised on a na­tional level as a lead­ing so­cial care or­gan­i­sa­tion.”

An­other film, pre­sented by writer Ivor Bad­diel, show­cased Jewish Care’s Sing Off, which has be­come one of the high­lights in the char­ity’s cal­en­dar.

More than 180 res­i­dents, mem­bers, vol­un­teers and staff from across nine Jewish Care ser­vices come to­gether each year for a day of singing.

Mr Bad­diel told guests: “You’ve seen X Fac­tor, you’ve seen The Voice, and you’ve seen Euro­vi­sion, but trust me you haven’t seen any­thing yet.”

The com­edy writer and au­thor in­ter­viewed the choirs tak­ing part in the Sing Off, which was judged by tele­vi­sion pre­sen­ter June Sar­pong and LBC ra­dio pre­sen­ter Nick Fer­rari.

Ms Sar­pong said: “I’m go­ing to kvell like I have never kvelled be­fore.”

Mr Mor­ris spoke at the close of the din­ner.

He said: “Tonight has been an in­cred­i­bly emo­tional night for me. I feel so proud to have led this or­gan­i­sa­tion for the past 15 years and to have worked with such a ded­i­cated and pro­fes­sional group of col­leagues.

“It has been an hon­our and a priv­i­lege. Jewish Care will al­ways have a big place in my heart and I look for­ward to see­ing it flour­ish un­der the ca­pa­ble lead­er­ship of Daniel Carmel-Brown”.

Speak­ing af­ter the event, Ni­cola Lof­tus, chair of the cam­paign din­ner and Jewish Care trustee, ex­plained why this year’s event was dif­fer­ent.

“Our guests have be­come used to com­ing along to our an­nual din­ners and hear­ing from big name speak­ers.

“This year we wanted to do some­thing dif­fer­ent, tak­ing them on a jour­ney through Jewish Care to show them why their sup­port is so im­por­tant.”

I’m go­ing to kvell like I’ve never kvelled be­fore’

PHOTO: BLAKE EZRA PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

PHO­TOS: BLAKE EZRA PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

Af­ter the ap­peal film was shown, the spot­light was on Tony, a client of Jewish Care’s Bren­ner Cen­tre at Step­ney

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