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For Lord Mayor Alderman William Russell's first fundraising event of the year, we welcomed a varying audience for an evening of poetry at Mansion House!

Beginning with a canape reception and raffle draw assisted by OnSide Youth Zones members. The night was fundraising for our four charity partners: Place2Be, OnSide Youth Zones, Samaritans and The Duke of Edinburgh's Award. 10% of net funds raised from the evening will go to the Sir Hubert Von Herkomer Arts Foundation.

The performances involved a blend of traditional poems from authors such as Keats, John Betjeman, A.A. Milne and T.S. Eliot performed by Damian Lewis, Helen McCrory and Allie Esiri.

The evening then transitioned to the vibrant contemporary poets of today including Theresa Lola, the Young People’s Laureate for London and Mona Arshi, poet and former human rights lawyer.

Last and certainly not least however, was an incredible mix of fresh talent from Future, Barking and Dagenham Youth Zone members, which was organised by successful playwright Yomi Sode. Over the past few months Yomi has been helping the young people at the Youth Zone to progress their emotions, experiences and original thoughts into poetry. This unique cultural project resulted in a fantastic anthology, which was given to guests on the night.

We’d like to give special thanks to all the attendees and the curators of the event: Kate Birch, Allie Esiri, Helen McCrory and Damian Lewis!