SUPPORTERS of the Royal Hall came together to enjoy an evening of astonishment and delight at a major fund-raising banquet at the Majestic Hotel on Saturday.
The gala evening was organised by the Royal Hall Restoration Trust to raise funds for the restoration of Harrogate’s unique kursaal.
The evening was full of unexpected surprises.
The first came when guests were startled by a number of waiters suddenly bursting into song during the serving of the four-course gourmet meal.
The penny then dropped that this was part of the evening’s entertainment, and “The Singing Waiters” went on to regale their appreciative audience with a popular selection of operatic arias before departing to sustained applause at the end of the dessert.
As a follow-up, the Trust then offered a number of very attractive prizes for the Grand Draw and Auction that followed. These included a hot air balloon flight, short breaks in luxury hotels and the opportunity to “become an RAF fighter pilot for the day”.
The star prize, however, was a fantastic seven-day luxury cruise donated by the Skipton-based Hebridean Island Cruises Limited.
This offered “small-ship” luxury cruising with a select band of about 80 other passengers to destinations as diverse as the Arctic; Norwegian fjords; St Petersburg; or warmer climes in the Adriatic and Aegean Seas. Needless to say, such an attractive prize was fiercely fought over before eventually being sold for 8000.
The evening was brought to a spectacular climax with a surprise visitation of “Chinese Elvis” – alias Paul Hyu. Paul is an “ex-Ashvillean” who took time off from his busy stage and TV career to come to Harrogate to support the Royal Hall.
His frenetic rendition of the “King’s” greatest hits soon had guests enthusiastically singing and dancing up on stage or wherever they could space between the tables. A memorable end to a memorable evening made even more so by the 22,000 it raised towards the Royal Hall restoration project.
l The Trust’s programme of fund-raising events now moves on a Summer Season of Tea Dances that will be opened by “Absolutely Fabulous” star June Whitfield in the Sun Pavilion, Valley Gardens at 2pm on Tuesday, July 12.