The Fourth Sugarplum Dinner was held on 14th November, World Diabetes Day, at London’s iconic Victoria & Albert Museum, and raised a staggering £1.5m for the international type 1 diabetes research charity JDRF. JDRF.
This year’s event played host to 350 supporters of Sugarplum Children – the charity set up by Jubie Wigan 2013 after her daughter Aliena was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at just two years old.
Big names supporting the night with their attendance included :Mark Ronson, Florence Welch, Downton Abbey creator, Lord Julian Fellowes and wife Emma, and Jonny Labey, who starred in X Factor Celebrity and who lives with type 1 diabetes.
Jubie paid tribute to all the children who have to take on the massive responsibility of life with type 1 diabetes, but who don’t let the daily challenges stop them. She told guests: “I believe that a time will come when type 1 diabetes is a distant memory for Aliena and the thousands of other children who manage this challenging condition on a daily basis. With even just a little belief, anything can happen.”
Nine year old Aliena captivated the room whilst giving her own speech about life with type one, for which she received a standing ovation .
Caius Pawson, founder of the Young Turks record label which he launched a couple of years after himself being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, spoke about his passion for the theme of the Sugarplum Dinner – ‘If you believe, anything is possible’ –saying: “This message completely resonates with me. I’ve always lived by the idea that if you can see it, you can make it.
“Being able to see other people with type 1 diabetes not just survive, but thrive, has really helped me to make a better reality of my life with diabetes.”
Guests were treated to a dinner cooked by not one, but two Michelin chefs, Jason Atherton and Tom Kerridge, as well as a mesmerising acoustic performance by Florence Welch, and after party DJ set by none other than Mark Ronson.
The night also saw a live auction conducted by Lord Harry Dalmeny, Chairman of Sotheby’s which included the following one-off prizes: Bespoke Huntsman dinner jacket with inner lining designed by artist Sir Michael Craig-Martin; The Venetian Dream – a trip on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express including a stay at the Belmond Hotel Cipriani and private tours with Lanza Bauccina and Save Venice; Chris Floyd photograph ‘Night must fall, Los Angeles’ and Downton Abbey Comes To Dorset – a stay with Downton Abbey creator Lord Fellowes, and Lady Fellowes.
The Sugarplum Dinner live auction has become synonymous with money-can’t-buy lots and this was no exception. The final lot was a once-in-a-lifetime six-Michelin Star dining experience with chefs Jason Atherton and Tom Kerridge, a performance by singer/song-writer Jack Savoretti and actors James Norton and Jeremy Irvine as your butlers on the night (both of whom support JDRF and live with type 1 diabetes), and which sold for £100,000.
In September 2018, Jason and Irha Atherton’s daughter Keziah was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, after being rushed to hospital. Jason told JDRF: “The awareness and the fundraising that the Sugarplum Dinner brings means the world to us. Keziah is now able to lead the life of an average teenager – but with the addition of insulin injections every day. Irha and I are really passionate about educating people on the warning signs of type 1 diabetes as every minute really does count. ”
While James Norton, actor, JDRF supporter and Sugarplum Dinner committee member – who was unable to attend due to last-minute filming commitments – summed up the importance of World Diabetes Day, saying: “I love how so many people are celebrating the bravery of those living with type 1 diabetes and the crucial support they receive from their family or friends in order to make sure that type 1 diabetes doesn’t hold anyone back.”
The fifth Sugarplum Dinner will take place in November 2021.
All images copyright Fear Photography.
Florence Welch & Mark Ronson