The Tofauti Conservation Ball Brings Kenya To London

22nd October 2019

A host of guests, many in safari-inspired outfits, converged on the Hurlingham Club in London for the second annual Tofauti Conservation Ball, a Charity founded by triple Olympian hockey player, Crista Cullen MBE.  Hosted by Clare Balding OBE, the event was supported by many international athletes including tennis legend Tim Henman OBE, rugby union player Simon Shaw MBE, and hockey Olympic Gold Medalists Maddie Hinch MBE, Kate Richardson-Welsh OBE and Helen Richardson-Welsh MBE. The High Commissioner for South Africa Nomatemba Tambo was welcomed by Crista Cullen MBE, and entered into the spirit of the evening. 

The sound of traditional African Drums from Frititi heralded guests into dinner, to enjoy a sumptuous meal of Isle of Mull Salmon followed by Breast of Guinea Fowl with a dessert of Vanilla Panna Cotta.  Vegetarians were served an equally delicious menu.

Radio, television and Sky News Presenter Jonny Gould energetically hosted a lively Auction, raising funds for the Tofauti Foundation, including £6,000 for a Limited Edition numbered bottle of Bowman’s single malt Scotch Whiskey donated by Buckingham Palace.  The total fundraising amounted to an incredible £125,000, all destined for worthy causes in Africa.

Tofauti, meaning Difference in Swahili, was founded in February 2018 by Crista Cullen MBE who grew up in Kenya, surrounded by its natural habitat, its local people and its wildlife, and is therefore deeply aware of both the country’s beauty and fragility.  Projects for which funds have been raised by the Charity include purchasing and managing the use of a tractor for infrastructural development on the Galana Wildlife Conservancy, securing a year’s supply of whey protein to support the baby elephants and other orphans at Reteti Elephant Sanctuary, building the first phase of a headquarters for Intelligence Support Against Poaching in Namibia, and supporting the partners Friends From Ireland in further developing the school at Danisa.  Crista said, in an interview with Clare Balding OBE, that future projects include supporting the Tsavo Trust in their Big Tusker Project, and supporting a programme to preserve Vultures whose numbers have been reduced by 60% in the Masai Mara as a result of poisoning, amongst other reasons.  Furthermore, there was a pledge that ran throughout the evening for a Water Pledge provision.  As Crista mentioned, with the growing African human population, water is something that is a cause of conflict between communities and wildlife.  The Tofauti Foundation will take the money raised to the experts to help with the selected projects.

The main objective of the evening was for guests to have fun, while raising money and lifting the profile of Tofauti, the brainchild of an incredible lady, Crista Cullen MBE.

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