A glittering evening in praise of commitment

One hundred and fifty voluntary sector guests gathered in the impressive 30th floor reception room of the Barclays Tower in London's Canary Wharf last week to celebrate Third Sector's fifth annual Britain's Most Admired Charity awards.

The awards were hosted by Barclays in London's Canary Wharf
The awards were hosted by Barclays in London's Canary Wharf

The world can be changed by the commitment of charity supporters, Absolutely Fabulous actress Joanna Lumley told the assembled chief executives, trustees, charity professionals and Third Sector contributors. She spoke about her own involvement with charities and causes, ranging from the Born Free Foundation to Sightsavers International and the Free Tibet campaign.

"Because I'm so passionate about them, it takes up so much of my time," she said. "I do it with all my heart, so there's no social life. All the world can be changed by us - all it needs is absolute commitment. So, sometimes, just empty your pockets. Always write the first cheque in the book to charity - and the last, and the one in the middle."

Her speech came after a welcome by awards host Jeremy Wilson, vice-chairman of Barclays Commercial Bank. He stressed the bank's commitment to helping charities, which he said would play a vital role in society during the impending recession. Earlier, the contributors to Third Sector's At Work pages were thanked by the magazine's editor, Stephen Cook. "The readers like what they do and learn a lot from it," he said.

The Most Admired Charity award was won by the Children's Society, whose chief executive Bob Reitemeier received the trophy from Stephen Pittam, chief executive of last year's winner, the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust. Clare Tickell of Action for Children, voted Most Admired Charity Chief Executive, received her award from Beth Pedersen, associate publisher of Third Sector. Most Innovative Charity was the London Community Recycling Network, whose chief executive, Matthew Thomson, received the trophy from John Kingston, director of last year's winner Venturesome.

Celebrity Charity Champion Duncan Bannatyne was announced by last year's winner, Joanna Lumley. He was unable to be present on the night, but sent a video message of thanks.

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