Leeds Rugby Foundation’s Connecting Communities Manager Ikram Butt joined a list of high profile guests from the worlds of business, politics and the entertainment industry at the Natural History Museum in London, for HRH The Prince of Wales’s Pakistan Recovery Fund Gala Dinner.
Sitting alongside the likes of entrepreneur and Dragon’s Den star James Caan, Lord Ahmed, and BBC News presenters Aleema Ahmed and Mishal Hussain, Butt was there as recognition for his fundraising work through the sport to help the Pakistan flood victims.
He commented, ‘I was truly honoured to be asked to get involved by John O’Brien, the special representative to HRH The Prince of Wales’, and Chairman of the Fund,. I jumped at the opportunity and was excited and thrilled to be part of such a great team for such a noble cause.’
‘The floods in Pakistan devastated families and communities on a huge scale. The events not only raises money to support those affected, it maintains people’s awareness that more needs to be done. This was demonstrated by the interest taken and the support given by the rugby fraternity and political figures from across section of parties coming together for this vital cause.'
The first event, part-organized by Knighton White, was between BARA (British Asian Rugby Association) of which Butt was a founder and the ‘Political Animals’. It raised over £5,500, including a donation of £500 from the Parliamentarians for whom Leeds Rugby Foundation Vice President Greg Mulholland, skipper of the Animals, played a key role.
At the home of rugby union, Rugby Legends – including Henry Paul, Alan Bateman, Andy Key, Steve Borthwick and Richard Hill – faced the ‘Legislators’ a mixture of Lords and MPs.
Four schools took part in a curtain raiser, two from the north – the Grammar School at Leeds and Parkinson Primary from Halifax who both represented the Foundation – and two from the south, with over £15,000 being raised.
Butt continued, “During the reception I was fortunate to meet the Prince again who thanked me for our continued support towards his charities. We shared a joke when I asked him if he would be willing to put on his boots for our next event.”
Paul Rowson, Chairman of the Leeds Rugby Foundation, commented, “The Foundation was delighted to support such a worthy cause and we are pleased to play our part and contribute in raising much needed funds.”
“I have known John O’Brien for many years and he has great leadership qualities. Ikram has done a wonderful job in playing a leading role on both events and raising over £20,000 in the current climate is really good going.”
Lucy Young, Manager of the Leeds Rugby Foundation added, “It is fantastic that these events have been so successful and the Leeds Rugby Foundation is proud to have supported them. As an organisation we harness the power of sport to make a positive impact on individuals’ lives and these events showcase how you can do just that to benefit a very worthy cause.”
The Pakistan Recovery Fund is a charitable initiative convened at the behest of its patron, HRH The Prince of Wales. The Fund seeks to raise money for flood-affected victims in Pakistan.