Red Cross Dinner reflects on the Armistice and focuses on the future
A special celebratory evening, including dinner, a champagne reception, music and an auction hosted by Jeffrey Archer, took place last week at Trinity College.
The event, held on Friday, December 7, not only commemorated the end of the First World War, but also the significant contribution made by the British Red Cross and auxiliary hospitals to the war effort. The proceeds will help fund an emergency response team that will be used in Cambridgeshire and beyond.
The guest speakers on the night were David Nott OBE OStJ FRCS, a consultant surgeon honoured for his front-line work in some of the world’s most challenging disaster and war zones, and David Peppiatt, director of the British Red Cross cash-based assistance programme. Music was provided by Scottish soprano, Lorna Anderson.
Rosie Gutteridge, president of Cambridgeshire Red Cross, said: "We wanted to raise money to support a new emergency response team, which was set up in Cambridge this year by the Red Cross."
She continued: "The idea was also to commemorate the Armistice and to celebrate all the Red Cross and auxiliary hospitals in the county during the four years of the Great War. So with these three different elements to the event, we hoped to raise £50,000."
Rosie reveals that the dinner, attended by 216 people, in fact raised quite a lot more than that. There was also a special reason why Trinity College was chosen to host it.
"We had it there because Trinity College during the First World War had a temporary military hospital while an open-air field hospital was being built on land where the university library now stands," she explained.
"The sick and wounded were brought over to Cambridge for this open-air hospital, but it wasn't ready in time and so the master of Trinity at that time gave permission for the soldiers to come and stay in Trinity until the building was completed. So for six weeks, Trinity was a field hospital."
Rosie and the committee are extremely grateful to the "very generous" sponsors and donors who helped raise such an impressive total. "The whole evening was hugely successful," said Rosie, "and I'm hoping we've raised in excess of £90,000, which will secure the future of this emergency response service in Cambridgeshire for the next five years - which is more than we ever dreamed of."