More than 250 guests joined Variety, the Children’s Charity for an evening of fragrant Indian food at Banking Hall. Guests began their night with tamarind chutney cocktails mixed by award-winning Purl London while the performance of dhol drummers called them to the main hall where they enjoyed Indian food created by Atul Kochhar, chef of the Michelin-starred Benares restaurant.

On the night, a live silent auction, hosted by Lord Jeffrey Archer, and two raffle prizes: a set of diamond earrings, kindly donated by Kiki MacDonough; and a brand new 100% electric Nissan LEAF sponsored by the Khan Partnership, managed to raise more than £40,000.

BBC’s Ian Robertson entertained the audience during his speech while the night was closed by BLAKE, who stunned every one in the room with their performance, which included an impressive cover of Hallelujah.

The money raised from the evening will be used to buy specialist breathing equipment which will be distributed to neonatal wards around the UK. Vapotherm units provide non-invasive respiratory support without the traditional masks and tubes. Babies show less distress and parents are better able to bond with them.

We would like to express our appreciation to all those who contributed to the Hot Date in the City and helped create a spectacular, colourful and unforgettable evening.