The first ever Tempus Earth Conservation Gala in aid of the WWF
Celebrity guests and friends help Tempus raise vital funds for the World Wide Fund for Nature at our inaugural charity event
Stars gathered at the Dorchester London on Thursday 31 May to join luxury lifestyle magazine Tempus in raising money for the WWF at the first ever Tempus Earth Conservation Gala.
Hosted by Alan Carr, celebrities including former Olympic cyclist Victoria Pendleton OBE, musician Dougie Poynter, boxer Chris Eubank Jr, and Made in Chelsea stars Georgia Toffolo and Mark-Francis Vandelli came together to support the cause.
The evening began with a Hatt et Söner champagne and Attilus caviar reception, guests including designer Joshua Kane, actor Harrison Osterfield, ice skater and model Maria Sergejeva, presenter Layla Anna-Lee and Dougie's INK. bandmates Todd Dorigo and Corey Alexander mingled with the host. Guests could also have their photograph taken by celebrity portrait photographer Gavin Bond before the Ballroom of the Dorchester was opened to reveal a transformed space styled like a tropical paradise courtesy of immersive theatre company Vox Vanguard.
Attendees took their seats for dinner (with each table appropriately named for an endangered animal) as Carr welcomed everyone with a rousing introduction. He thanked hosts Tempus Magazine, and event sponsors Isle of Man UNESCO Biosphere, WaterBear Network – a soon-to-be-released streaming service that facilitates environmental action – and foreign exchange company Volopa, which gifted each guest with its specially created Earth Conservation Card, allowing people to donate to WWF as they shop. >>
"I'm really intrigued about anything environmental, especially the WWF which is an amazing cause," Carr told Tempus. "Every time you switch on the telly you see something about climate change or threats to wildlife so when I got the call to ask if I'd host it was an immediate yes. WWF is one of the good guys."
Tony Juniper, WWF Director of Advocacy and Campaigns gave a keynote speech that highlighted that sentiment, drawing cheers from the crowd as he announced the endangered species such as pandas, snow leopards and tigers that have, through the hard work of environmentalists around the world, seen an increase in number for the first time. Arctic explorer and expedition guide Inge Solheim, perhaps best known for leading the Duke of Sussex's North Pole expedition for Walking With the Wounded, gave a second speech, describing himself as "a climate and nature optimist".
"Climate change is a serious problem, but I'm optimistic. I'm not a fan of doomsday prophecies or propaganda. I'm a fan of facts, of science, of realism – but also of positivity," Solheim told guests. "Most importantly, I'm a fan of action. We have to translate the worries we have into action."
Between dinner courses, Vox Vanguard's entertainment brought the plight of our endangered species to life, with an immersive musical and dance interpretation of Scheherazade, visually inspired by the paintings of Henri Rousseau. Choreographed by and starring the royal ballet's Sophie Apollonia (currently starring in An American in Paris at the Palladium), dancers embodied animals to tell the tale, weaving throughout the room accompanied by a 40-piece orchestra conducted by the company's founder, Matthew Tosca. Award-winning composer Fabio D'Andrea and pianist Lysianne Chen shared a duet.
A live auction followed led by Christie's auctioneer Kate Flitcroft, raising £92,000 in the room from lots including a specially commissioned artwork by Bran Symondson (sold for £40,000), a personal vintage champagne experience from Hatt et Söner (£22,000) and a giant panda teddy (£1,100). The hard work done for the evening, guests enjoyed entertainment from singer Tom Grennan and band The London Essentials into the small hours. Tempus events director Georgia Peck said: "We're so delighted to launch the first ever Tempus Earth Conservation Gala in aid of WWF. It is a wonderful organisation whose fantastic team are at the very forefront of battling some of the immediate dangers our world is facing – climate change, endangered wildlife, marine conservation and community development."