Thursday, 3 July 2008

Oh, what a night!

It’s not often you get to sit on the top table in the Waterloo Room at Windsor Castle alongside Prince Charles, but that’s exactly what happened last night to my wife Elizabeth and I. Indeed, Elizabeth had the Prince on one side and Ronnie Corbett on the other.

The occasion was to celebrate the Prince's Trust Technology Leadership Group (where I was one of the founders back in 2002 and am the current Chairman) raising £5m for the Trust. Actually now it is more like £5.5m with a further £2m pledged. The 'Leadership Group' concept was pioneered by the TLG. The Princes Trust has since set up other 'LGs' – like Construction, Insurance, Women etc – which together now form one of the most significant parts of the Prince’s Trust fund-raising from the corporate sector.

And it needs it. The Prince’s Trust Business Programme alone needs £1m a month just to keep going at its current rate. Giving our disadvantaged young people the chance of a decent start in life gets more urgent by the day. We can’t just cast aside a large group of society to run feral on the streets. The Prince’s Trust, through its mentoring programme, provides the ‘role models’ that so many seem to lack at home. The problem is that the 40,000 young people that are touched by the Prince’s Trust each year is a mere fraction of the number that need such help. Hence why the technology industry has pulled out all the stops to help.

Indeed, our Gala Dinner last night raised £230,000 in its own right. But it was far more valuable than just that.

1 - It was a BIG THANKYOU to all our many patrons and supporters. I personally want to make particular mention of the two co-founders and previous Chairmen - James Bennet (E&Y) and John O'Connell. Without them, the TLG would not only not have been created in the first place but would not have been the success it is today.

2 - Capgemini used the occasion to announce that they were becoming Platinum Patrons – pledging to raise £1m over next three years. A fantastic offer!

3 – McAfee sponsored the evening which was greatly appreciated and allowed much of the money raised from the table sales to go directly to the Trust. Indeed Dave DeWaltMcAfee’s CEO - flew in specially for the occasion

4 – The guest list was truly fantastic. It included Ryoichi Bamba (President & CEO Canon), Andy Green (CEO Logica), Paul Walker (CEO Sage), Fujio Nishida President of Sony Europe as well as the CEOs of most our many Patrons and many top CIOs from both Government and the private sector..

The Prince's Trust Technology Leadership Group is (in my view!) now the best top level tech networking forum in the UK. On top of that it does fantastic work for the community.

Maybe last night the tech industry crossed from asking “Why should I join the Prince's Trust Technology Leadership Group?” to “I really don’t want to miss out by NOT being a member of Prince's Trust Technology Leadership Group!”

If you are not already involved, shame on you! For more information go to Prince's Trust Technology Leadership Group or just drop me an email on and we will quickly put that right!

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