Hosted by television sports presenter Mike Bushell, the black-tie event is the highlight of the Club’s social calendar and was attended by the first-team squad and partners, plus the manager and coaching staff.
Indie rock band The Enemy headlined the event and other celebrities in attendance included Strictly Come Dancing star Robin Windsor, Countdown’s Rachel Riley and Emmerdale actor Chris Bisson.
Manchester United and UNICEF are currently celebrating 15 years of the United for UNICEF partnership; the longest running of its kind between a sporting organisation and a global children’s organisation. Over this time, the partnership has helped to improve the lives of over 3.4 million children worldwide.
Money raised from tonight’s event will help fund UNICEF’s work protecting vulnerable children in Vietnam from abuse, neglect and exploitation and guests were able to support UNICEF by bidding on money-can’t-buy prizes in the auction and taking part in the raffle and other fundraising games throughout the evening.
Enjoying his first gala dinner at the helm of the club, Louis van Gaal commented, “It does not surprise me that Manchester United is part of such a significant charity partnership and one that has impacted on the lives of so many children throughout the world. Our work with UNICEF is something this club can be very proud of and I was honoured to join the players at tonight’s 15 year anniversary event.”
Reds’ captain Wayne Rooney added, “Any player who signs for this club soon realises how important UNICEF is to Manchester United. I’ve been attending the gala dinner for ten years now and it’s always a great evening that raises a lot of money for United for UNICEF.
“Like myself, most of the players here tonight have young families so it’s very moving to learn about the UNICEF project in Vietnam and the awful circumstances so many children have to face. I’m just glad we could help tonight and am grateful to all the supporters who joined us to make it such a special event.”
UNICEF UK Deputy Executive Director for Fundraising Catherine Cottrell concluded: “We are really proud to be celebrating fifteen years of partnership with Manchester United this year; thanks to the continued support we’ve received from the club and its fans we’ve been able to transform the lives of millions of children. All the money raised through tonight’s gala dinner will help us protect children in Vietnam who are living their lives in danger of abuse, neglect and exploitation. On behalf of everyone at UNICEF I would like to say a huge thank you to those who donated tonight and helped us reach even more children in need of help and protection.”
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