Castle charity dinner raises thousands

Scarborough Castle illuminated for the Night Before The Keep, and below, guests gather for the celebrations, and bottom, diners enjoy the unique surroundings.
Scarborough Castle illuminated for the Night Before The Keep, and below, guests gather for the celebrations, and bottom, diners enjoy the unique surroundings.

A spectacular charity dinner event held for the first time within the walls of Scarborough Castle has been labelled “the best one yet”.

Last night over 300 guests from across the borough dressed up in their fineries for A Night Before the Keep, which raised more than £8,000 for worthy causes.

Guests gather for the Night Before The Keep, Queen's Diamond Jubilee dinner, at Scarborough Castle, Friday. Picture by Andrew Higgins sn123755b 14/09/12

Guests gather for the Night Before The Keep, Queen's Diamond Jubilee dinner, at Scarborough Castle, Friday. Picture by Andrew Higgins sn123755b 14/09/12

They were met with a champagne fountain, regimental drums, a luxurious marquee, exquisite cuisine, live music and a grand fireworks display - all set within the historic Inner Bailey.

The glittering five-star military dinner was an exclusive one-off event which was staged to celebrate the year of the Queen’s Jubilee.

Organiser Captain Tony Viney, who has enjoyed previous success with A Night Before The Colours at the Spa for the last three years, said: “It was our best one yet. It was a sell-out and we have raised a significant amount for charity, which is fantastic and very generous of the town.”

During the evening, guests enjoyed full access to the castle grounds and posed for pictures with armed guards and regimental drummers, who performed at the event.

In the dining marqee at the Night Before The Keep, Queen's Diamond Jubilee dinner, at Scarborough Castle, Friday. Picture by Andrew Higgins sn123755mp 14/09/12

In the dining marqee at the Night Before The Keep, Queen's Diamond Jubilee dinner, at Scarborough Castle, Friday. Picture by Andrew Higgins sn123755mp 14/09/12

Following an opulent buffet-style dinner, a bugler played the Last Post and diners observed a two-minute silence as a mark of remembrance. The crowds then gathered beside the Keep, which was lit up in red, white and blue, for a grand fireworks display, before enjoying an exclusive performance by classical quartet Amore.

The singers, who have performed for the Queen and supported Russell Watson at the Open Air Theatre, said they had returned because they “fell in love” with the people of the town. They received a standing ovation for a spine-tingling rendition of Scarborough Fair and left the crowd demanding an encore.

Mr Viney said two good things had come out of staging the event at the castle.

“Firstly, it showcases what Scarborough can do when everyone pulls together,” he said.

“Secondly, it brought the castle back into the town, as over the past few years it just seems we have become disconnected with it. Events like this make it very real for people and many guests who have lived here all their lives said they had not been for years or ever.”

Mr Viney now hopes to persuade English Heritage to let him host the event at the castle in future years.

He said: “They did say it was a one-off, however with a reaction like that from the town and because it has been so popular, if Scarborough is behind me I don’t mind talking to English Heritage and giving it another go.”

Proceeds from the dinner will go to support Heroes Welcome, The Yorkshire Regiment Benevolent Fund, the RNLI and The Cambridge Centre.