A night to remember

Blog by Eleanor Burfitt

After a postponement in 2021, and many months of hard work and planning, the 9th of September was soon approaching for NRAS to celebrate our 21st Anniversary Gala Dinner and NRAS Champions Awards’. It had been a long road and everyone in the team were excited to get dressed up and celebrate the Society and the RA community. 

With the news of Her Majesty’s passing the day before, there was much deliberation as to if the evening should go ahead – however, in honour of the Queen’s unfaltering work and service to the country in her 70-year reign, it felt right to continue to celebrate the charities achievements and also those of our NRAS Champions who have supported the RA community. However, we did ensure that some changes were made to respect the period of mourning the country was in. 

As we all arrived at the venue it was wonderful to see all our colleagues in their finery, as dress options had been discussed at length in the office in the run up to the evening. An opportune moment to capture us all in a photo was taken, and last minute checks on the raffle prizes and auction, and we were ready to roll out the red carpet!

Guests soon started to arrive in their best outfits and were able to mingle with other guests before settling down for a delicious dinner in the spectacular dining room which was decked out with the NRAS teal making an appearance across the room. Guests could look at the auction items on offer in our lovely brochure and take a chance with the NRAS raffle. There were some amazing prizes to be won, and anyone unlucky could take away an NRAS pin badge to remember the night. 

Before dinner was served we had speeches from Clare Jacklin, CEO of NRAS, Simon Collins our Chair, and also from our founder, Ailsa Bosworth, MBE. There were a few tissues at the ready as it was an emotional time celebrating how far the charity has come in these 21 years, overcoming many hurdles along the way.

Next was the NRAS Champions’ award ceremony, and it was wonderful to honour some special people and teams who go above and beyond for their patients and community. Our hands were sore after a while with all the clapping, and it was great to see our Champions receive their wonderful trophies. Well done to Katy Pieris, Jenny Wyatt, Sam Small, Dr Lizzy Macphie, Raigmore Hospital team and Lister Hospital team for your well-deserved awards.   

Thank you to all our guests who attended the evening, it was so lovely to see so many faces, many of which I only recognised from zoom calls or articles in the NewsRHEUM magazine! Some new friends were made and it was an evening the charity can be very proud of. Here’s to our 25th Anniversary in 2026!