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Gala Dinner 2022

Published on 29 November 2022 03:30 PM

On Saturday 8th October, we welcomed local corporate partners and supporters to our first Gala Dinner in 8 years, to celebrate the work that Age UK Medway does to help local older and vulnerable people, and adults with learning disabilities, to Achieve Life's Fullness.

The evening focused on our local older person 'Alf', who you may have seen featured on other places on our website and our social media pages.  Alf isn't one person, he represents every older person, and the experiences in which many older people can have in feeling isolated or left behind by society.  Our work at Age UK Medway focusses on providing the help and support Alf needs to enjoy his later late and making sure that he is never left behind - to Achieve Life's Fullness; not just to one Alf, but to every Alf.

At Age UK Medway we implore our local communities to join us in our mission to remember about Alf, hence our hash tag #AskAboutAlf, and to remind people just how important and wonderful later life can be.  Our seating plan at the Gala Dinner was inspired by some of the most notable and inspiring older people in the world, and the evening was filled with lots of valuable discussion about how we, as a society, can make a difference and remind others just how incredible later life can be with the right support and some community spirit.


Starting this conversation is so important to us at Age UK Medway, and we were so inspired by and grateful to the wonderful organisations who chose to join us, and support us to make the evening a night to remember. From our Events Team selling out of raffle tickets and getting people out of their seats and playing 'Party Pong', to the fantastic magician Chris Campos bringing sparkle to the evening, to the Bridgewood Manor staff serving a delicious three-course meal, to the generous organisations in Medway donating some amazing prizes for guests to share with their family and friends, to the guests themselves for their genorisity and charitable spirit - the night was a roaring success with a total of £1,948 raised to go towards our vital work and services in the Medway towns and beyond.


The Gala Dinner was also the perfect occasion for us to say some big Thank You's.  

Last year, we launched an exciting new staff reward scheme, based around our wider ALF Principle, to make sure that everyone always Asks About Alf.  The ALF Principle is a set of values which we, as a charity, work towards in all areas, to ensure no older person is left behind. And the ALF Award Scheme was set up to enable both staff members and customers to nominate Age UK Medway employees who have gone the extra mile, and helped us as a charity to achieve our ALF objectives.

ALF Nomination Winners

All finalists were invited to our Gala Dinner on Saturday evening, where the CEO and Vice Chair announced and awarded our winners:

⭐️Outstanding New Addition - Natasha Kent, HR Officer 

⭐️Outstanding Commitment - Dee Simpson, Head of CRS Service 

⭐️ Outstanding Customer Service - Dani Hopper, Homecare Team Leader 

We are so proud to have such a fantastic, dedicated team here at Age UK Medway. Well done to all of our nominees and winners!


Community Appreciation Awards

We are very lucky to receive support from some amazing local organisations and corporations, which helps us to continue to provide the services and support we do to our local communities.  At the Gala Dinner, the Chair of Trustees and Group CEO presented BAE Systems and Specsavers Chatham with an Appreciation Award, as a token of our gratitude for their ongoing support throughout the pandemic and beyond.  

Presented to BAE Systems & accepted by Dan Palmer:

Presented to Specsavers Chatham & accepted by Yve Dixon:

Get Involved

At Age UK Medway, we are always looking at how to get people involved, and there are so many ways that you can!  Whether you want to partner with us for an event, fundraise for us, volunteer for us or even work with us, read more about how to Get Involved here and keep your eyes peeled for our upcoming events!


Remarkable Older People

As a reminder of just how important, valuable, and fun older life can be, read more about the notable older people from our table plan here:

Flo Meiler

Every day she proves that age is no barrier. 

Flo Meiler, an octogenerian athlete, is 87 years old and began participating in the USA Masters Track at 56 years old, where she has since won an incredible 795 medals and set 35 world records and 35 U.S. records.  Flo, over her career, has set numerous records for age groups and specifcally for women and has inspired people of all ages along the way. To this day, Flo remains passionate about keeping fit and healthy.

HM Queen Elizabeth II

Our modern world places such heavy demands on our time and attention that the need to remember our responsibilities to others is greater than ever.

Elizabeth II was Queen of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms from 6th February 1952 until she died peacefully in September 2022. She was queen regnant of 32 sovereign states during her lifetime, and was head of state of 15 realms at the time of her death. Her Majesty the Queen was the longest serving Moncarch in British history, and had a keen sense of duty to her nation from a young age, enlisting to join the military effort for World War II, training as a mechanic, and is renowned for her willingness to embrace change, provide stability and modernisation throughout her position.

John Glenn

If there is one thing I've learned in my years on this planet, it's that the happiest and most fulfilled people I've known are those who devoted themselves to something bigger and more profound than merely their own self-interest.

 John Herschel Glenn Jr. was a NASA astronaut and a former Marine Corps aviator, engineer, businessman and politican.  He was the third American in space, and first American to orbit Earth, circling it three times in 1962.  His mission of almost nine days on the space shuttle orbiter Discovery, launched on 29th October 1998, when he was 77, making him the oldest human to ventue into space.  John Glenn's legacy lives on to this day, as he recieved various notable awards and honours over his life, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.

Fyodor Konyukhov

Fyodor Konyukhov was presented in the Guiness Book of Records as the oldest solo rower at 67 years old, and has completed over 50 expeditions during his life.

Fyodor is a Russian survivalist, voyager, aerial and marine explorer and artist, completing his first expedition at the age of 15.  Fyodor remains the first and only person in the world to have reached the five extreme Poles on earth.  He has led an incredible life, training as a Marine Engineer, serving in the Soviet Navy, an artist and finally becoming in an ordained priest in the Ukranian Orthodox Church. To this day, Fyodor, is 70 years old and is still completing expeditions around the world.

Fauja Singh

Living life is like running a marathon. It takes a lot of courage and tenacity to keep going till the end.

Fauja Singh is a British Sikh and marathon runner; during his life has beaten a number of world records in mutiple age brackets.  At 92 years old, he ran the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 5 hours 40 minutes. After receiving his very own letter from Queen Elizabeth II congratulating him on his 100th birthday in 2011, Fauja Singh went on to become the first 100-year-old to finish a marathon. In his early life, Fauja had trouble walking and did not take his first steps until he was 5 years old.  By the age of 89, he was taking part in international running events.  Fauja Singh has retired now from running at 111 years old, and lives in Ilford with his son.

Captain Sir Thomas Moore

My today was all right and my tomorrow will certainly be better. That's the way I've always looked at life.

Captain Sir Thomas Moore, or "Captain Tom" was a British Army officer and fundraiser, who made international headlines during the Covid-19 pandemic, with his fundraiser to walk 100 lengths of his garden in support of NHS Charities Together to mark his 100th birthday.  By the time his 100th birthday came around, his target of £1,000 was more than succeeded, with a total raised of over £30 million.  Captain Tom was appointed as Honorary Colonel by the Army Foundation College and was personally knighted by Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle on 17th July 2020.  Sadly, Captain Tom passed away just a few months later, but to this day his achievements and accolades live on.

Colonel Sanders

There’s something inside of me that makes me want to help people, especially people who are having difficulty of some kind.

KFC describes Colonel Sanders as "Our founder, Colonel Harland Sanders. An icon. A legend. A failure."  But it is important to note that Colonel Sanders' failures never stopped him from succeeding. A determined and tenacious man, from the age of 13, Colonel Sanders tried his hand in many roles and when they didn't work out, he would pick himself up and try again.  By the age of 40, he started serving his southern style chicken, and it took him 11 years to perfect his secret recipe.  Colonel Sanders lived modestly, despite his success, and donated much of his wealth to charities, including the creation of his very own trust.

Georgina Harwood

So much in life is pleasant!

Geogina Harwood, from South Africa, made international headlines in 2015 when she decided to mark her 100th birthday by jumping out of a plane, descending at over 200km an hour.  When she reached her family on the ground, she enjoyed a glass of bubbly and described the experience as "wonderful".  Two days later, Georgina decided to go cage diving with Great White sharks.  Georgina had a positive outlook on life and saw it as one big adventure.


Johanna Quaas

When there is movement, there is life.

Johanna Quaas is a German gymnast who celebrated her 96th birthday last year, and was certified by the Guinness World Records as the 'world's oldest active competitive gymnast'.  She became well-known across the globe when two videos of her training during the Tournament of Masters were featured on YouTube in 2012, which have now been viewed over 3 milion times.  Johanna had a successful career in Physical Education, teaching and coaching gymnastics who went on to become successful Olympic athletes, and eventually going in to compete herself in senior groups.

Sir David Attenborough

If I can make programmes when I'm 95, that would be fine. But I would think I'll have had enough by then.

Sir David Attenborough started his career at the BBC and has had many roles including senior manager, controller, director, broadcaster, writer, presenter, biologist, natural historian, author and mostly recently, envrionment and climate change activist.  Over the course of his life, he has won dozens of awards and honary degrees, most notably 3 Emmys.  Sir David is the only person to have won the BAFTA Awards in black and white, colour, HD, 3D, 4K and VR. 

Now, at 96 years old, David has certainly not had enough of making programmes, and in the last two years has focussed his work on environmentalism and earth science. At 95 years old, Sir David was a key figure at the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference and this year, the UN Environment Programme recognised him as a 'Champion of the Earth' "for his dedication to research, documentation, and advocacy for the protection of nature and its restoration."