The international community came together on Friday 5 November to raise HUF 1.5 million (EUR 5,468) for charity – over twice the amount donated during the Bonfire Night charity event last year. Stephen Linfitt, the event organiser, took the occasion of the 10th anniversary of XpatLoop.com to put on the event for The Smiling Hospital Foundation. More than 250 people attended, including many distinguished locals, ministry officials and media personalities. Expats including several ambassadors, senior diplomats, leading business figures and a whole variety of socialites all joined in the celebration.
The InterContinental Hotel, situated in the heart of the Hungarian capital next to the Danube, sponsored the venue and provided guests with a five-star view of the Buda Castle and the iconic Chain Bridge – the focus of the evening’s PowerPoint presentation, symbolising the united nature of the expat community in Budapest for this annual event.
Entertainment included two live bands along with musicians and a magician from the Smiling Hospital team to demonstrate how the foundation brings cheer to the lives of children in hospital.
Quality Hungarian red and white wine, plus fine whisky all went down well, as did the five-star menu generously served up by the hotel, showcasing many British classics such as meat pies and fish and chips, as well as healthier savoury choices, and a range of fabulous desserts including a giant 10th birthday cake presented to XpatLoop complete with firework decorations.
The evening also featured a fireworks display film to mark the annual British occasion of Guy Fawkes’ Night. A virtual bonfire burned brightly all evening and a bonfire wood-cutting competition offered guests an enjoyable challenge with prizes from the hotel. Table-football fun and Sony PlayStation Move consoles also proved popular in the games corner of the venue.
Fundraising came in the form of donations given at the entrance, live and silent auctions and a name card draw with many valuable gifts, such as an exclusive Ferrari driving package, all of which created excitement and many happy winners.
President of the Foundation Dr. Albert Royaards, together with Countess Éva Csáky Bornemisza, its founder, expressed their delight at the result of the event, both in terms of smiles raised and the generosity of guests, especially given the current economic climate. They confirmed the donation covers more than one month of their charitable activities in 23 hospitals around Hungary.
“This is, for our humble standards, a huge amount,” said Dr. Royaards. “Countess Éva, Stephen and I thank in unison everyone involved with the event. United together we all helped bring smiles to sick children in Hungary. ‘Happiness Helps Healing’ is our motto, and that goes double for this event!”.