The first-team squad turned out in style for the annual United for UNICEF Gala Dinner, helping to raise over £65,000 for the club's international charity partner.
This year's event had a ‘Champions of Youth’ theme, recognising the important role that young players have played in United's success whilst highlighting the club's long-term commitment to supporting the rights and needs of children and young people worldwide through United For UNICEF.
Funds raised from the Gala Dinner will support UNICEF’s global children and AIDS campaign ‘Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS’. HIV and AIDS are having a devastating impact on young people worldwide. In China, an estimated 200 people are infected with HIV each day; the vast majority of these people are young. Funds raised will help to fund an innovative UNICEF HIV prevention project that will provide young Chinese people with the education and information they need to protect themselves from HIV.
This year's event was hosted by Sky TV’s James Cooper and featured special performances from a range of young talent including Ray Quinn (X Factor 2007 runner-up), who entertained a host of guests including Sir Alex Ferguson, United players past and present and other sporting and showbiz celebrities including cast members from popular TV programmes Coronation Street and Hollyoaks.
A grand auction offered a range of dazzling prizes including a once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch UNICEF Ambassador David Beckham’s LA Galaxy team in action in Los Angeles, whilst a silent auction and raffle gave attendees the chance to win money-can’t-buy prizes whilst supporting UNICEF’s work.
United boss and UNICEF ambassador Sir Alex Ferguson said:
“We at Manchester United are committed to supporting young people. Young people face many great challenges across the world today, but undoubtedly one of the greatest is AIDS. AIDS is having a devastating effect, robbing youngsters of their families, their friends and their future. But there is hope. Our Gala Dinner gives us the chance as a club to show our full support for these young people and raise funds for UNICEF’s vital work to ensure that the young are protected from HIV and AIDS. This event will make a lasting difference to the lives of children worldwide.”