Banquet allows access to private rooms at Arundel Castle

Arundel Castle
Arundel Castle

A unique banquet is to be held at Arundel Castle, allowing guests access to private rooms of the Duke and Duchess of Norfolk.

Celebrating Sussex Childhood is being organised by Mark Spofforth, the High Sheriff of West Sussex, as a fundraising event to round off his year in office.

Mark Spofforth, High Sheriff of West Sussex

Mark Spofforth, High Sheriff of West Sussex

Veronica Spofforth, his wife and consort, said: “Their Graces and Henry, Earl of Arundel, are all attending. They have given us permission to use their private picture gallery and drawing rooms for our reception and then, of course, the Baron’s Hall for the banquet.

“I am anticipating 250 to 300 guests. When Their Graces gave permission to use their private apartments, it opened up an entire new level to this unique event, it is indeed a privilege to anyone who attends.”

The banquet will be held on Friday, March 17, in aid of Chestnut Tree House and Winston’s Wish. It will also be supporting Home-Start Arun.

There will be a Champagne canape reception, an elegant banquet, a musical performance by Christ’s Hospital School Band and two raffles.

Celebrity auctioneer is Tim Wonnacott and Ambrose Harcourt will be Master of Ceremonies.

Tickets from £125 per person, with table packages available and all wines inclusive. Email vonwcw@gmail.com for more information.

Mr Spofforth said he was coming to the end of his one-year post as the Queen’s representative for all matters relating to the judiciary and the maintenance of law and order.

“Although it is not an official part, it does give you the ability to give something back to the community and support charities and volunteers’ groups,” he explained.

“Having been through the year, we thought it would be nice to have a fundraising event for two charities that I feel very strongly about - Chestnut Tree House and Winston’s Wish.

“Everyone knows the local charity Chestnut Tree House. Although Winston’s Wish is a national charity, it has a West Sussex branch. It is a charity focused on children who are bereaved, those who have lost their parents.

“We are aiming to raise a significant sum for each of them.

“The Banquet Hall at Arundel Castle has not been used for a proper dinner in recent years, other than for Henry’s wedding last summer.

“We have sent invitations out to people and tables are going quite well. Everyone is welcome.”

Home-Start Arun is a charity for which the Duchess of Norfolk is patron and a game of Heads or Tails will be held during the evening specifically to support it.

Mr Spofforth said: “They send mentors to homes where parents are struggling. They have just recently had state funding withdrawn so they desperately need money.”

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