A new charity fundraising event has appeared on the Isle of Wight’s busy charity calendar – the Gift to Nature Gala Dinner. This melange of food, frolics, prizes and music was created to celebrate the relaunch of the Island’s new, bigger local countryside charity. Gift to Nature is a part of the local Island 2000 Trust charity, and has recently taken over the management of most of the Isle of Wight Council’s countryside sites, including local favourites such as Brading Down, Golden Hill, Batt’s Copse and Rew Down.

The Landscape Therapy table having fun at the Gala Dinner.

The Landscape Therapy table having fun at the Gala Dinner. (Photo courtesy of Simon Avery)

With support from the Seaview Hotel, which offered its sister operation Newclose Pavilion as the venue for the event, the Gift to Nature Gala also enticed one of the Island’s most celebrated chefs – Alan Staley – to create the menu. Using local food and featuring the prestigious Wight Marque, Alan and team served a three course dinner to over sixty guests, including a table of hungry diners who had earlier spent the day at the hedgelaying competition.

The highlight of the programme was an auction of great prizes presided over by auctioneer Becky Ball. The lots were generously donated by local businesses and included a year’s Gold One Card from the Isle of Wight Council and a trailer-load of firewood from Landscape Therapy. Guests also bought all the raffle tickets in a bid to win prizes including a hamper of tomato products from the Tomato Stall, plus the latest must-have IW tourist product, the #Wightagrams Teat Owl. A special raffle prize came from Camp Bestival and Red Funnel,  two Camp Bestival tickets – including travel. Toe-tapping music was provided by talented local folk stars Second Time Around.

The event raised well over four thousand pounds and was a great chance to celebrate Gift to Nature and the work it does to maintain the Island’s special areas. Got a dog? You probably walk it on some Gift to Nature land. Ever had a picnic? Flown a kite? Listened to a bird, trilling its little song? Yup, this could undoubtedly involve G2N countryside. And, with a lovely meal and the chance to win some fabulous prizes, the Gift to Nature Gala Dinner is helping keep the Isle of Wight beautiful.

We are planning another one next year—so put the date in your diary—25th February 2017—the same date as the Hedgelaying Competition.