Gala dinner exceeds all expectations

Lisa’s Legacy gala dinner and dance on Saturday September 3rd at the DeVere Grand Harbour Hotel proved to be an amazing evening.

Hosted by former Olympian Roger Black MBE and supported by Denis Bundy, the evening was full of events and star cabaret. Some two hundred and fifty guests attended the evening, with the sporting and entertainment world coming out in force to support Lisa’s Legacy, and many stars donated beautiful items for auction – Sir Elton John donated a framed and signed CD and photo, Kylie Minogue donated a signed CD, Sting gave a signed framed photograph, Federal Mogul donated a box at Manchester United for five for the Arsenal game, Rupert Lowe donated tickets for the directors’ box at St Mary’s, and Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s company gave tickets for Phantom of the Opera… the list went on and on and over fifty items were donated in total.

Following the introduction to the evening by Roger Black which included a DVD called ‘Lisa’s Dream’ (a pictorial tribute to music of Lisa’s journey created by Lisa’s brother Ross), local singer Martin Murphy sang through dinner. This was followed by ‘Kings and Queens’ which raised £1250. Roger Black then gave an impressive speech and showed the film of the 4×4 Olympic relay final in which he won a gold medal. The audience cheered as Chris Akabussi crossed the line to win gold!

Mark Rigler spoke on behalf of locally based company Southern Exhaust Supplies, which is owned by Lisa’s family and who were the main sponsor for the evening. During his speech he announced the appointment of Ross Wilson – Lisa’s brother – as a Director of the company and his new business card was presented to him by his brother Scott.

This was followed by a moving tribute in which Lisa’s auntie Heather dedicated the Bee Gees song ‘Immortality’ to Lisa. Clive Wilson – Lisa’s dad – then introduced Lisa’s Legacy which was a six minute DVD also created by Ross of all the fund raising activity that had brought in some £70,000 to date.

He announced the first target for the charity £100,000 which is 100 years of education in Lisa’s memory. A truly fitting legacy to such a lovely girl whose life had been taken whilst just in her prime. Clive’s wife Tricia joined him on stage to be introduced to the guests and to receive a bouquet of flowers and picture from daughter-in-law Kelly and Ross’s partner Donna.

Thomas Dean of what is now Southampton Solent University Business School (previously Southampton Institute) made a short reply on behalf of the guests.

Star cabaret followed with the wit and musical talent of Steve Womack who had everyone singing along

Next up was the auction full of so many fabulous items, the star prize was four nights in Las Vegas with flights to see Celine Dion in concert in the show New Day. This prize went for over £3000! with an amazing bid by Ian and Teresa Hibberd. In all, the auction just topped £13,000, a truly amazing figure. The silent auction raised another £2000 and then a raffle with a prize on every table raised a further £3000,

The night hadn’t finished yet. Now it was time for five star cabaret from the ‘Drifters’ – they too helped with the fund raising by signing a guitar donated by Steve Etheridge from the round table for £900. With other items they raised £1150 to add to the total.

At about two in the morning the evening finally closed having amassed an amazing total of £24,560 and still climbing.

This was a tremendous tribute to a beautiful girl whose spirit lives on today and continues to help so many others. The first target of 100 years of education is almost complete.

See more photos from this fantastic event in the picture gallery.