Ben, the not-for-profit organisation that partners with the automotive industry to provide support for life to its people, hosted its flagship Ben Ball on December 13 at the Grosvenor House London, raising over £135,000 on the night.
The funds raised at the Ball, which has been running for over 90 years, will help Ben continue its vital work providing life-changing health and wellbeing support to people working in the automotive industry.
Following the welcome address by Peter Johnson, Ben’s President, a short film was played to demonstrate the focus of the evening and raise vital funds which enable Ben to continue its important work. The film, entitled ‘David’s Story’, showed how the organisation has supported David when he experienced mental health challenges. The film tells how a fall and subsequent back injury affected David’s mental health after he was left unable to work and struggling financially and described his experience of Ben’s support.
In David’s own words: “Everything ground to a halt. My attention went from getting my back sorted to thinking ‘how am I going to deal with my income starting to reduce?’ I was getting to the point where I couldn’t afford to buy food. I started to find myself struggling with more of a mental issue – I thought, ‘how am I going to cope’? I wanted to curl up in a ball and shut the world away… not knowing how to deal with any aspect of life.”
David bravely came onto the stage and praised the support he received from Ben: “I can’t emphasise enough how much Ben helped me through a very challenging time in my life – and I don’t know where I’d be without this help. To show my gratitude, I’m currently training to run the London Marathon in honour of Ben, to help them continue their vital work.”
During the evening, it was announced that Ben’s 2017 Industry Leader Challenge taken on by Jeremy Hicks and the Jaguar Land Rover team raised over £214,000. Jeremy Hicks, MD of Jaguar Land Rover, handed the Industry Leader Challenge baton for 2018 to Andy Bruce, CEO of Lookers, who has accepted the 2018 challenge with a team of colleagues.
Andy said: “I’m delighted to lead Ben’s Industry Leader Challenge for 2018 on behalf of Lookers. We look forward to sharing more details with you soon, so watch this space!”
Thanks to the generous donations from across the automotive industry and beyond, the main auction contained a variety of fantastic items. The auction raised over £98,000 and star items included an Audi RS 5 Coupé, a Triumph Street Triple R5 motorbike and a signed Lewis Hamilton helmet.
Zara Ross, Ben’s Chief Executive, said: “The Ben Ball has, without doubt, become one of the biggest automotive industry events of the year. It’s our annual flagship event which raises vital funds for our health and wellbeing services and also gives us an important opportunity to raise awareness about the help and support Ben provides for all industry colleagues.
“I would like to say a heartfelt thankyou to everyone who made this year’s Ball so successful, we can’t thank you enough for your generous donations and support. I look forward to seeing you at next year’s event.”