Hosted by television personality and United fan, Angus Deayton, the black-tie event is the highlight of the club’s social calendar and was attended by the first-team squad, manager and coaching staff.
UK band The South, featuring ex-members of popular ‘90s group The Beautiful South, headlined the event and performed following a successful fundraising auction, which gave attendees the chance to bid on a number of exclusive prizes; the star lot being an invitation to take part in a photoshoot with the full Manchester United first-team.
Over the last 16 years, the United for Unicef partnership has raised over £3.4 million, helping Unicef to change the lives of over 3.4 million vulnerable children worldwide. It is the longest running partnership of its kind between a sporting organisation and a global children’s charity.
Money raised from tonight’s event will help Unicef to save children’s lives in Bangladesh. In this disaster-prone country, a child dies from drowning every 29 minutes; that’s 50 children per day, 18,000 per year – making it the leading cause of death amongst young children. Young people from the community will be trained to become swimming teachers, whilst working to raise awareness of the importance of safe swimming and being trained in basic survival and first aid skills.
Reds manager Louis van Gaal commented, “Myself and the players are honoured to be a part of this fantastic partnership and I am delighted that so much money has been raised this evening for Unicef. These funds will go a long way in helping to save children’s lives in Bangladesh – that is a fantastic result and I’d like to thank everyone who came tonight for their support.”
Assistant manager, Ryan Giggs, who was also celebrating his 42nd birthday this evening, added, “I’ve done a lot of work with Unicef over the years, the charity is very close to my heart and I’m proud that the club is so supportive. When new players join Manchester United they soon understand the importance of the partnership and that’s why we enjoy attending this event as a team each year. It’s about having a good time but also raising awareness and trying to raise as much money as we can for Unicef to continue to make a difference.”
Unicef UK Deputy Executive Director, Catherine Cottrell, said, “We are incredibly proud of our long-standing United for Unicef partnership. Over the last 16 years the club has helped to change the lives of vulnerable children around the world. Tonight, all of the money raised will make a huge difference to help protect children in Bangladesh from danger. We are hugely grateful to Manchester United for their continuing support.”