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Gala nets £10,000 in memory of Sam
5:10pm Wed Feb 12, 2014
 
Sports stars joined family, friends and supporters of the late Sam White at a charity dinner to commemorate his life.
SAM’S parents, Mr Mike White and Mrs Pam White, speak to guests at the gala dinner.
SAM’S parents, Mr Mike White and Mrs Pam White, speak to guests at the gala dinner.
There were more than 300 guests at a night of glamour, glitz and generosity that raised £10,000 for the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre at Nottingham and for a children’s MRI scanner.

Sam, of Milner Street, Newark, who died from an infection in September aged 16 after suffering a brain tumour, had been involved in organising the event.

His parents, Mr and Mrs Mike White, decided it should still go ahead in his honour.

Olympic medallists and local sports personalities hosted tables at the dinner.

The evening was compered by Quentin Rayner, of BBC East Midlands Today.

Sam’s mother, Mrs Pam White, said: “The dinner was Sam’s idea and it was meant to be a fundraiser for his treatment.

“He loved sport and he wanted to have an event with sports celebrities so that people got the chance to meet someone they could look up to.

“The response from the sports stars was brilliant. Nearly everyone who was invited came.

“We wanted to invite people who worked with Sam or who knew him, and the underlying message was that we should all support each other.”

Mr and Mrs White eventually hope to raise £1m for the charities Sam supported.

An auction included signed shirts from Premier League footballers Rio Ferdinand, of Manchester United, Swansea’s Michu, and West Ham’s Mark Noble, signed cricket memorabilia from former England captain Michael Vaughan, an Advertiser holiday, champagne, chocolate, and many other items.

The auction was led by Mr Alasdair Morrison.

Pupils from The Newark Academy, where Sam was a pupil, sang, and a video montage of highlights from his life was shown.

Tim Baillie, who won gold for Great Britain in the canoe slalom at the London Olympics 2012, was among the guests.

He said: “Sam’s life is an inspiring story and this dinner is for a really good cause so I was very happy to support it.

“Sam had such an impact on people and it’s a nice way for me to give something back by coming here.”

Paul McGregor, a former footballer with Nottingham Forest and Plymouth Argyle, said: “When I was invited I looked up the cause, and what a great cause it is.

“Being strong enough to turn what happened into something as positive as this is incredible. It’s truly inspirational and it shows that Sam lives on through it.”

Other sporting greats at the dinner included Tim Baillie’s canoeing partner Etienne Stott, bronze-medal winning Olympic gymnast Sam Oldham, and junior rally champion George Lepley.

The Whites have already booked the same venue for next year’s event on Saturday, February 28.

Mr Mike White said: “All of the sportsmen were fantastic. They all said they wanted to come back next year, commitments permitting.”

Mr White thanked all the sponsors for their support.

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