Glittering ball attracts stars from sport and screen

PUBLISHED: 08:00 03 December 2010 | UPDATED: 15:04 08 December 2010

John Cleese opening the evening.

John Cleese opening the evening.

Archant

A STAR-STUDDED charity bash has raised £215,000 for good causes.

The Axentis Michael Memorial Ball, held on the Grand Pier, attracted famous names from sport, film and television, including Weston’s own John Cleese.

The seafront charity bash, in memory of Weston hotelier Axentis Michael, raised cash for the charitable trust set up in his name.

Organised by the Michael family and held every two years, it has now raised a total of £565,000 for good causes since it began.

About 900 guests attended the black tie event, which was the first major function to be held on the Grand Pier since it re-opened at the end of October. John Cleese was the guest of honour at the ball on Saturday evening and other celebrity guests included Theo Paphitis and Deborah Meaden from Dragon’s Den and Somerset cricketers Andy Caddick, Marcus Trescothick, Alfonso Thomas and Charl Willoughby.

BBC’s Alex Lovell and auctioneer and television presenter Martin Roberts were on hand to help out with fund-raising at the event.

A Citroen C1 car, donated by motor dealer Howards, raised more than £11,000 when it was raffled during the event.

Axentis’ son and pier co-owner Kerry Michael said: “This is the fourth memorial ball we have held and the biggest so far.

“In previous years we were restricted to 500 guests as there wasn’t a venue in Weston big enough to take any more people.

“Before this year’s ball we set ourselves a target of breaking the £500,000 barrier in total monies raised and I am absolutely delighted to say we exceeded this by a massive £65,000.

“We have had some fantastic support and I cannot believe the generosity of all our friends and suppliers in the current economic climate.”

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