Diners Salute the Armed Forces at St James' Park
One of the UK's top sporting stadia joined forces with the Military for a glittering 'Mess Dinner' in support of the Royal British Legion.
Around 350 guests attended the event at Newcastle United's St James' Park this month raising more than £5000 for the charity, whic provides lifelong support for the Armed Forces communities, serving men and women, veterans and their families.
The dinner, which was supported by the Ministry of Defence, was the brainchild of the stadium's catering partner, Sodexo Prestige Venues and Events.
"This dinner is a unique opportunity to champion our Armed Forces within the local community, and to promote our Mess 'Military Dinner' to many new organisations and individuals," said Gary McLafferty, the Ministry of Defence's Regional Employer Engagement Director. "It has also allowed us to work with this fantastic charity that does so much for our Armed Forces community."
And chefs created a four-course meal - announced by a trumpeter in traditional 'mess' format - after which diners raised a glass of port for the Loyal Toast to HM The Queen, and sang the National Anthem.
Among the guests were serving members of the 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers in full dress uniform, and the guest speaker was former 42 Commando Royal Marine Medic and face of The British Legion Poppy Appeal Cassidy Litte, who lost his leg in an IED blast in 2011.
Guests were officially welcomed by Lieutenant General Robin Brims CB CBE DSO DL with performances throughout the evening from the Band of the Royal Armoured Corps.
"We were delighted to work with the Royal British Legion to hold this first-of-a-kind event at St James' Park," said Samantha Doyle, Sales and Marketing Manager for Sodexo Prestige Venues and Events at the stadium.
"The North East has long and proud links with the services, which pulled out all the stops to put on a glittering and impressive event. We've received some superb feedback from guests, and everyone who was there will remember the evening for a very long time to come."