Again this year the Ken-Friends embarked on a fundraising project selling to raise money for our chosen charity - the Ulster Association of Youth Drama in Northern Ireland (a cause very dear to Kenneth Branagh). A unique enamel pin was created, produced and sold. The proceeds from the sale have been donated to UAYD and make it possible for some talented youngsters in Northern Ireland to attend summer theatre training programs in Great Britain.
In addition to the sale pins, funds were raised through a series of auctions of Branagh-related items held within the Ken-Friends mailing list. Still more funds were raised through the generous donation, by John Andrews of the Shakespeare Guild, of a percentage of the sales of the videorecording of the 2000 Golden Quill Award Ceremony.
The amount raised this year was $6050 US, which constituted a donation to UAYD of £4153.
Also this year, in honour of Kenneth Branagh's 40th birthday, the Ken-Friends raised an extra £1000 in order to purchase a chair in Kenneth's name in the newly refurbished RADA theatre.
This is the message Kenneth sent after receiving his birthday gifts:"I want to say an enormous thank-you to all the Ken-Friends who contributed to my overwhelmingly generous birthday tributes.
The money which supports Youth Drama in Northern Ireland has an almost incalculable value. Way beyond the vastness of the actual sum and what it can literally buy, the comfort level and choice it makes possible, opens all kinds of doors. It helps people who would not otherwise be able to participate in what for many is a life-changing experience. Your gift has a direct social impact and is deeply appreciated.
Many of you know of my fondness for RADA and the contribution you have made to them in my honour is a double thrill.
First of all, Richard Attenborough is delighted! In his heroic leadership of the rebuilding programme, I know every penny counts - yours will for sure - and at the same time, I'm enormously proud to be associated with the building in this way. Thank-you, thank-you. Thank You.
Some pins are still available, proceeds from their sale will go towards next year's UAYD donation. To purchase one contact Jude Tessel.
Kenneth dispenses pearls of wisdom to a Renaissance Award winner
Kenneth recieves pearls of wisdom from a Renaissance Award winner