The Spice Merchant brought a hint of Bollywood to Henley for a special charity event on Thursday 9th November. The ‘Taste of India’ evening was held in aid of The Chiltern Centre, the hospice for disabled children based on Greys Road. With an abundance of delicious food, professional Bollywood dancers to entertain, and some fantastic auction and raffle prizes, there was no escaping the charitable cheer.
The Spice Merchant are long standing supporters of the Chiltern Centre, having hosted fundraising events in both 2015 and 2016. Hasan Chowdhury, manager of the Spice Merchant, was delighted to once again be assisting the charity. “We’ve been here for 12 years, in Henley. It’s nice to be part of a local charity,” he said. “We want to make a difference for a charity who it will really help. This is the third year we’ve held this event, and it’s chance for us to give back.” The chefs whipped up tasting meal fit for Bollywood’s biggest stars, from pakoras, to curry, to the obligatory naan bread. No effort was spared by the restaurant team, who decorated the venue with coloured lights and old movie posters.
Even the guests got stuck in with the theme, dressed in colourful costumes to rival the Bollywood dancers! The dance performance, sponsored by Mercers Solicitors, was courtesy of London-based company Dance Asia, who have previously worked with the Spice Merchant. Mercers were not the only local business to get involved with the event; many local businesses kindly donated prizes for the raffle or charity auction. Harriet Barcella, community fundraiser for the Chiltern Centre, expressed her gratitude to all who were involved. “We’d like to say a big thank you to the Spice Merchant. They ran this event, but support us with catering and nibbles for other events too. Thank you also to Mercers for sponsoring the entertainment.” She continued, “It’s a great opportunity to get the community together. It’s really well supported by local businesses. We are so lucky to be so well supported by the local community in Henley and surrounding areas.”
The generous contributions of both guests and business resulted in a whopping £4500 raised for the Chiltern Centre. This will contribute to the running of the organisation, which costs £200k a year just to maintain. The centre provides a range of care services for disabled children and young adults, enriching both their own and their families’ lives. The charity relies on the support of the local community to continue its valuable work. The Chiltern Centre would like to thank the auction contributors: Niki Schafer, Copas, Hennerton, Castle Royle, Harleyford Golf Club, Sophie Morris, Nina Harvey, and Josie Fear. Thanks also go to raffle prize donators: Regal Picturehouse, Cook, Strada, Edwards and White Steel, Ha Hoos Pottery Painting, Dorata Hairdressing, and Waitrose Henley. Finally, a massive thank you once again to Mercers, the Spice Merchant, and the wonderful guests for the fun, successful evening!