Over 200 guests were in attendance at the Riverside Stadium as Middlesbrough Football Club Foundation marked two decades of raising aspirations and changing lives across Teesside at their 20th anniversary dinner.
Just over £38,000 was raised to help fund projects which benefit a wide variety of audiences from children to adults in the local community.
The evening celebrated the hard work and success of the Foundation since its launch back in 1996 by MFC Chairman Steve Gibson OBE, while also highlighting three individuals in particular whose lives have been changed thanks to MFCF.
Special guests included Middlesbrough FC goalkeeper Dimi Konstantopoulos, first-team goalkeeping coach Leo Percovich, as well as former Boro players Alan Peacock and Steve Vickers.
Ray Mallon, MFC Foundation’s new chairman and former elected mayor of Middlesbrough, spoke about the key role the Foundation plays in improving the lives of many disadvantaged people in the Teesside area, and thanked those in attendance for taking the time out to support the important cause.
The evening also celebrated a year-long partnership with artist Mackenzie Thorpe, whose piece ‘Where The Heart Is’ raised a staggering £20,000 for the Foundation.
A live auction raised £3,780, with the one bidder taking home a seven-night luxury holiday for two in the Maldives.
Other lots included four VIP behind-the-scenes tickets to the set of a Sky Sports ‘Goals on Sunday’ recording, donated by Teesside’s very own Chris Kamara, Brazilian midfield maestro Juninho’s last ever match worn shirt for the club, donated by trustee Stewart Smith, and a ‘Team of Wines’, which was a selection of 12 wines (6 red and 6 white) each individually signed by a first team player along with an additional bottle of champagne signed by Aitor Karanka.
An additional envelope draw raised a further £1,620 was, with prizes including an Apple IPad, a Harrods handbag, and a rented convertible Mercedes for a weekend.
Talking about the work of the Foundation to Steve Vickers on stage, Boro shot-stopper Dimi said: “Middlesbrough is more than just my adopted home, it is my home now, so using this Foundation I am trying to give something back.
“You see every day how close people are to the club and vice-versa, and it’s an area full of honest, hard-working people who are passionate about their football.
“The least we can do as footballers is to try to give something back, and I’m always glad to help the Foundation. It’s a privilege and an honour to be even asked to get out there and help, especially with the young people who are the future of this area.
“It’s only a couple hours of your time, and it’s all for them.”
MFC Foundation’s chief executive Karen Wilkinson-Bell added: “We were delighted to be able to welcome so many friends and supporters along to the dinner, to celebrate two decades of success.
“The money raised will make a real difference to the lives of the people we work with, and we are very grateful to everyone for their support.”
• Pictured (top): MFC Foundation chairman and former elected mayor of Middlesbrough Ray Mallon addresses the guests with his opening speech.
• Pictured (above): Dimi Konstantopoulos presents Paige Murphy with her Exceptional Achievement Award.