City of Champions Fundraiser

Oh, what a night!

A huge thank you to everyone who came to, or otherwise supported, our 2019 City of Champions Gala Dinner and Award Ceremony last Thursday, 31 October 2019, at the Hilton Deansgate in Manchester.

The event was a huge success with over 250 delegates attending. Speakers included Diane Modahl, Co-Founder and CEO of the Diane Modahl Sports Foundation (DMSF); Samuel Remi-Akinwale, DMSF Young People & Children Advisor to the Board; Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham; Councilor Luthfur Rahman Executive Member for Culture & Leisure and BBC broadcaster and event host, Will Perry.

The energy and engagement of the audience helped us raise critical funds for our programmes and initiatives, and our guests of honour, which included British boxing legend Ricky Hatton MBE, England womens football captain Stephanie Houghton MBE, CEO of social-first marketing agency, The Social Chain and entrepreneur, Steven Bartlett, and multi award winning Irish dancing champion James Keegan, were overwhelmed with the support shown to the charity.

Ricky Hatton MBE donated a pair of signed boxing gloves and a training session at his gym and James Keegan donated four tickets to the current Lord of the Dance world tour including a back stage meet and greet, to the Charity auction held during the evening. Guests were also treated to an inspiring dance performance by James Keegan and his dance troupe.

Steven Bartlett donated a 5-night stay at his New York home including flights for two people, and he was so moved by the Foundation’s aim to change the lives of young people growing up across Greater Manchester, that he pledged an additional £2,000 to the auction total. Steven said: “I was humbled by the generosity of people at the event and I wanted to do something more to support the Foundation.”

Thanks to your very generous support the event raised just over £18,000 for the Foundation. Your contributions will help us make a very real difference to the lives of others.

We are very grateful to our event partners, Manchester City Council for their support; our sponsors JMW Solicitors and Fairhome Group for their contribution to an incredible evening; and our events company ConnectIn, for making sure everything went smoothly and for all their efforts in making sure it was a success.

A big thanks also goes to our host, BBC broadcaster Will Perry, who served as emcee for the evening; radio presenter, Darren Proctor, who led the pledge portion of the evening with the exhilarating charity auction; and BBC presenter Mike Shaft, our official interviewer to the stars. DMSF partnered with sustainable products company, Shole, to make sure our Champions stayed hydrated throughout the evening, providing our sporting stars and inductees with a stainless steel vacuum insulated water bottle.

The Gala Dinner is an important fundraiser for the official charity partner the Diane Modahl Sports Foundation (DMSF). The proceeds will directly support young people and their families. DMSF work within the top 20% areas of deprivation, using sport as a vehicle change to build character and develop behaviours that are ultimately transferable throughout their whole lives. To find out how you can support us click here.

Click here to see images from the City of Champions 2019 image gallery.
Photography by Ant Clausen.


2020 has seen many of our events postponed until 2021 – 2022. However there is still hope for this year with plans already in place for our flagship event, City of Champions to return on 23 September 2021.

This year the event will take place at the prestigious Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester. The event will honour and recognise the achievements of individuals who have played a significant role in making Manchester one of the world’s most successful brands. Our special guests, which this year include English football coach and former player, Gary Neville, will be on stage for ‘live and unscripted’ interviews throughout the evening.

Look out for your EXCLUSIVE invitation!

The safety of our staff and guests remains our top prioty and we will continue to review the situation and make any changes necessary.

The decision to postpone is always a difficult one to make but DMSF recognises the seriousness of the current COVID19 (coronavirus outbreak) and we take our responsibility to follow Government guidelines to help slow the pandemic, and support social distancing very seriously indeed.

We will continue to be in touch with regular updates and rescheduled dates. You can also click here for the latest event updates, and read our FAQs for more information on how DMSF is focusing its support over the next few months, and how you can help. 

Thank you for your on-going support and commitment to our events programme.
Johanna Bolhoven

Marketing, Diane Modahl Sports Foundation