Absolute Return for Kids charity dinner raises £17.2m

The annual fundraising event of the children's charity Ark is attended by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the Ark event
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the Ark event

The international children’s charity Absolute Return for Kids held its annual charity fundraising dinner last night, raising £17.2m.

The 1,000 guests at the event in Kensington Palace Gardens in London included the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, taking part in their first public engagement as a married couple.

The Duke of Cambridge used the occasion to announce a new £5m venture between Ark and the Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry to support young people in the UK and Africa. He also announced that the Duchess was to join the princes’ foundation as a patron.

Money was raised at last night’s event through ticket sales, with tables costing up to £100,000 for 10 people, and separate tickets for the after-party.

A spokesman for the charity said money was also raised through an auction and through guests making secret pledges at a computer at each table.

He said that over the past 10 years the charity’s annual dinner had raised a total of about £150m. It raised more than £25m at both the 2007 and 2008 events.

The financier Arpad Busson, the founding chairman of Ark, said: "Tonight is the culmination of an extraordinary decade for Ark and its programmes. None of us dreamed 10 years ago that we could achieve so much.

"Our achievements would not have been possible without the extraordinary support of our donors, sponsors, patrons and friends. We thank each and every one of them for their incredible generosity."

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