March 23, 2014 by News

The Rio Ferdinand Foundation Gala Dinner #RFFgala

7Rio Ferdinand Foundation Gala Dinner Success

  • London charity event held in partnership with Teenage Cancer Trust and Operation Wallacea
  • Over 400 specially-invited guests attended including Rio, Michael Watson MBE, Ian Wright MBE and Olly Murs
  • Over £50,000 was raised during the course of the evening
  • James Nesbitt presented his donation of the trip for two to Brussels to spend a day on the set of “The Missing”

Saturday 22 March 2014 London: The Rio Ferdinand Foundation charity hosted its first Gala Dinner this evening with over 400 guests in attendance at the Wyndham Chelsea Harbour hotel in West London.

404 Not Found In partnership with the Teenage Cancer Trust charity and Operation Wallacea, the evening raised over £50,000 with those present bidding on a number of auction prizes including a walk-on part in James Nesbitt’s latest BBC One drama ‘The Missing’, a Victoria Beckham-designed handbag, behind-the-scenes tour of Match of the Day, signed shirts from Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Robin van Persie alongside Executive Box places in Rio’s own box at Old Trafford, items from Rio’s own brand #5 and much more.

The Rio Ferdinand Foundation’s mission is to inspire and enable young people to reach their potential by providing education and employment pathways with a vision of creating confident and skilled young people able to tap into their talents to build a brighter future. With the right support, role models and opportunities the Foundation believes young people can achieve great things.

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With projects taking place in Belfast, Manchester and London five young people from the projects were present at the Gala Dinner as Rio Ferdinand Foundation Ambassadors to represent the work the Foundation conducts.

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Guests were treated to a champagne reception upon arrival followed by a three-course dinner, live music and a DJ set from Soul II Soul legend Jazzie B.

Rio Ferdinand, Founder and Trustee, Rio Ferdinand Foundation said:


“People look at me as an inspiration because I had the possibility to live the dream and I now use that to help other people. Me and my mates used to say ‘if we make as professional footballers we would never leave Peckham (the local area)’, but as you get older you branch out and do different things, but I always had in my mind I would like to give back to the communities and I always stayed true to that, I don’t really shout about it, but I get a good satisfaction from it.


“The night tonight really was started by my brother Jeremiah who came up with the idea of this event and I think it is amazing how many people who are willing to help and raise money and awareness for the Teenager Cancer Trust as well as for my own Foundation which focuses on getting young people off of the streets and into a positive future.”




Janice St. Fort, Trustee (and mother of Rio Ferdinand), Rio Ferdinand Foundation said:26

“Not everyone has the skill to become a footballer, dancer or singer and the Rio Ferdinand Foundation aims to help young people to gain qualifications and certificates to help them get jobs and not feel left out of society.

“This is a real passion of our family and we have spent our whole life helping out in the community. Rio was always a part of this and even when the money was tight for us we always tried helping others.

“It is so lovely to know people really wanted to come and support our causes here tonight.”

Ian Wright, former Crystal Palace, Arsenal and England striker and guest on the night said:


“Rio is doing a lot for his Foundation and it’s all positive stuff and that is why we are here tonight.

“I had my best time when I was in West Ham together with Rio, Frank (Lampard), Joe (Cole) and (Michael) Carrick – we had a really good squad. Rio is literally only doing good stuff now and I am just here to support this good cause.”


Olly Murs, multi-million selling global recording artist and guest on the night said:

12“I was contacted through the Rio Ferdinand Foundation to be here and I am also a big fan of the Teenager Cancer Trust so it is a pleasure being here – it’s fantastic being a part of it.

“The Rio Ferdinand Foundation has done a fantastic job putting this night together and I am hoping to get more involved with them in the future.”

The guest list from the night included:

Founder and trustee: Rio Ferdinand

Former English footballer and now broadcaster: Ian Wright MBE

Retired British boxer: Michael Watson MBE

X-Factor star and double platinum British singer: Olly Murs

Actor, presenter and comedian: James Nesbitt

EastEnders stars: Jacqueline Jossa (Laura), Khali Best (Dexter), Jamie Borthwick (Jay), Ben Hardy (Peter Beale), Danielle Harold (Lola), Ricky Norwood (Fatboy), Maddy Hill (Nancy)

Coronation Street stars: Brooke Vincent & Catherine Tyldesley

Brit Award-winning singer: Sam Smith

The legendary Soul II Soul DJ: Jazzie B

Simon Webbe from the British boy band Blue

Former Ipswich Town defender Fabian Wilnis

Four-time British Winter Bobsleigh Olympian Lenny Paul

For more information, hi-res pictures or interview requests please contact Rio Ferdinand Foundation Communications Mie Østergaard on 07780 214865, email