Caudwell Charity

Caudwell Children’s exclusive Butterflies on the Lake event is a first for Portugal

On the 20th August 2022 within the picturesque back-drop of the Algarve, the allure and glamour of Caudwell Children’s most prestigious London and Monaco Butterfly Balls descended on Portugal. The highly awaited Butterflies on the Lake Gala Dinner was the inaugural event of its kind where like-minded philanthropists, esteemed guests and humanitarians all gathered together to enjoy an evening of indulgence, fine dining and world-class entertainment. But beyond the sheer luxury and finesse, the true message resonated throughout the event, to transform the lives of children living with autism and disabilities, so they can grow up in a world where they have choice, opportunity, dignity and understanding.

Caudwell Children’s signature purple carpet was rolled out on the lakeside terrace of Casa do Lago, nestled in the exclusive resort of Quinta Do Lago which is favoured by the rich and famous and it isn’t hard to see why, with its award-winning state of the art golf courses and endless beaches this is a place unlike any other. The warm Mediterranean climate and exquisite views of Europe’s most southern tip made Quinta do Lago the perfect host for the Butterflies on the Lake gala.

VIP guests, including John Caudwell, his partner Modesta Vžesniauskaitė and Duncan and Nigora Bannatyne who are avid supporters of the charity arrived camera ready and dressed in their best summer chic attire, they were greeted with a drinks reception. As guests made their way to their tables, the outdoor venue allowed them to come together in a beautiful and intimate setting under the stars where they enjoyed a lavish four course meal.

Earlier this year Duncan Bannatyne officially cut the ribbon on an autism assessment suite at the Children’s Centre.

Caudwell Children relies on the support from sponsors in order to organise these transformative and unforgettable events. The Butterflies on the Lake Gala Dinner was sponsored by Neuven and Brave Generation Academy. Neuven Solutions are a neutral vendor in the temporary staffing sector, the benefit for clients is that they can give impartial advice on agency, locum and bank staff management without risking being compromised by the desire to divert bookings to an associated recruitment company. Brave Generation Academy was founded by Tim and Lidia Vieira and their vision is to envision a world where quality education has no boundaries, playing a central role in life’s success. They provide a curriculum that is largely considered as the gold standard of international education.

The charismatic BBC Broadcaster Ian Stringer was an exceptional host and captivated the audience throughout the night, making him the perfect choice to front such a wonderful and momentous occasion in the charity’s history. Stringer has over 20 years of experience in the industry, hosting worldwide and has an array of personal and professional accomplishments which include being selected by the Sports Journalist’s Association in 2017 for the “Highly Commended” award in the Commentator of the Year category.

During the night, guests were wowed by show-stopping performances from Israeli powerhouse Riki Ben Ari. The talented singer was inspired by singers like Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Shirley Bassey, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. In 2018 she tried out for the Eurovision Song Contest and her vocal ability has been recognised by world-famous Israeli producer Offer Nissim, who works with the Queen of Pop, Madonna and the legendary Cher. Riki Ben Ari also has her own show “Absolutely Diva” that pays homage to the greatest divas ever.

The amazing saxophone performer Mr Sax C also made an appearance, his rendition of Shallow from the popular film “A Star is Born” was mesmerising. His career started in 2000 and has taken him all over the world, where he has played at incredible events. Mr Sax C still works as a saxophone teacher and orchestra conductor, he has several Masters degrees in music, all of his career centres around music.

After dinner, guests had the chance to participate in the Live Auction, where they could bid for unique and exciting lots that were donated to Caudwell Children for the Butterflies on the Lake event. These lots consisted of a 7 night stay in a luxury Whistler Ski Lodge located on the side of Whistler Mountain, with breath-taking panoramic view and was donated by John Caudwell, an O’ Jackie original oil painting by Moneypenny Art, 7 nights of accommodation at Wyndham Residence or Ramanda Residences Resorts on the Costa del Sol or Turkey which was donated by the Idiliq Group, A pair of 2019 Racing Boots signed by seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton which were donated by Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport and a Quinta Do Lago package which was donated by Quinta Do Lago. Additionally, guests could pledge donations towards life-changing equipment that aids children with their development, mobility and independence such as powered wheelchairs, therapy tricycles, specialised buggies, sports and sensory equipment.

During the evening guests were introduced to a video highlighting the phenomenal work the charity does. They watched as real families talked about their struggles and how they overcame them with the help of Caudwell Children. In places the video was difficult to watch but the hard-hitting, uncomfortable truths needed to be seen, thousands of families go through these obstacles on a daily basis. Tilly Griffiths, a previous beneficiary and her mum Jackie Griffiths featured in the video, Tilly was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy and she received her first powered wheelchair from the charity at the age of three. Caudwell Children has continued to support her throughout her life and now Tilly is a young adult she has become a trustee for the charity and has helped to fundraise millions. She has been able to follow her dreams by attending university at Stanford and has a place as an intern at Disneyland in California. Tilly’s life is just one of thousands that Caudwell Children has changed for the better.

Caudwell Children was founded in March 2000 by British billionaire John Caudwell and is widely regarded as one of the fastest growing children’s charities. John’s vision for a sustainable and efficient children’s charity has inspired thousands of supporters across the UK, not only that but he remains the charity’s largest benefactor and by personally paying the charity’s administration and management costs, the charity prides themselves on the fact that 100% of all donations go directly towards the children and families. This unique sense of transparency sets them apart from other charities in the same field.

Chief executive Trudi Beswick has been the driving force at Caudwell Children since the start and has orchestrated the charity’s continued growth from a small local charity to a national organisation. Trudi has set a precedence in which the charity and its staff abides by and has set the path for the future.

Since the charity’s inauguration they have supported over 65,000 children and their families, provided £85,000,000 worth of services and helped children with over 700 different medical conditions. Back in 2018 the Caudwell International Children’s Centre was opened and was the UK’s first purpose-built centre for multi-disciplinary therapy programmes for childhood disability and research of neurodevelopmental conditions.

The suspense and anticipation in the room was increasing, the excitement was rising as the final amount raised was announced, a staggering €300,988.02. The incredible kindness and generosity of those in attendance surpassed all expectations and was a welcomed surprise.

Caudwell Children strives to make each event more entertaining, unique and transformative than the last and with the success of the Butterflies on the Lake gala dinner they are planning another event for 2023. In the meantime, the charity will continue the amazing work that they are accustomed to, the charity’s motto is “we will do whatever it takes” and this is evident in everything that they do.