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, 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.

Don’t miss out, click here to register your interest/reserve your place for City of Champions 2020! It promises to be bigger and better than ever.

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