A charity lunch featuring TV legend Valerie Singleton has raised over £10,000 for Hft, a national charity supporting adults with learning disabilities that has local services in Bedfordshire.

The former Blue Peter presenter shared stories from her five decades in showbiz at the event, which was attended by 150 people at the Bedford Centre by Accor Hotel. Guests enjoyed a broad line-up of entertainment, all while raising money to help adults with learning disabilities live the best life possible.

Celebrity lunch raises over £10,000 for Hft

The event was hosted by the Rotary Club of Bedford Castle, with its president Peter Cullum overseeing the afternoon. Flog It star and Rotarian David Fletcher was in attendance as celebrity auctioneer, successfully encouraging bids for a range of lots including a ride in a Ferrari, family tickets to Bletchley Park and a case of fine wines.

Headlining the afternoon was Valerie Singleton, who entertained the audience with highlights from her career, which began with her performing in ‘We are the Ovaltineys’ Ovaltine adverts and led on to her presenting the British institution Blue Peter, before culminating in Valerie embarking on new adventures as a travel writer.

During the event guests also had the chance to learn more about Hft, as registered manager Jane Perry spoke about the impact of Hft’s work on adults with learning disabilities locally. Free copies of a book on autism, written and donated by one of the parents of a person supported by the charity attracted further donations.

The bumper sum of money raised is set to go towards a garden renovation for people supported at an Hft day opportunities centre in Bedfordshire. Plans to extend the centre’s patio area and install an accessible trampoline and swing have now been given the go-ahead to start in the near future, thanks to the funds raised at the event. More than 50 people attend the popular service, which offers activities including pottery, dance and art.

Laura Weston, Major Partnerships Manager at Hft, said:

“We’re blown away by the success of this brilliant event, which provided a lovely opportunity to socialise, enjoy some top quality entertainment and, most importantly, raise money for a vital cause. Events like these mean we’re able to continue supporting adults with learning disabilities to thrive and enjoy new experiences.”

Valerie Singleton was also delighted with the event’s success. She said:

“It’s fantastic to hear that £10,000 was raised, and people were made more aware of the services offered by Hft – what an amazing result. Well done and thank you to everyone involved!”

Hft currently supports more than 2,900 people with learning disabilities across the country. This includes supporting people with learning disabilities to live with as much independence, choice, dignity and control as possible. That can range from helping someone to find a job, make friends or adapting their home so they can enjoy a greater level of independence.

Find out more about fundraising events at Hft by visiting www.hft.org.uk/events