Cost of living fuels Hull charity business lunch target

The Sailors’ Children’s Society is being backed by Hull’s business community as it appeals for help to meet a huge surge in demand.

Nigel Owens

Nearly 700 people will raise urgent funds when they attend the annual Sportsman’s Lunch on Friday 13 October, with star speaker the Welsh former Rugby Union referee and television personality Nigel Owens.

The national charity, which started in Hull in 1821, hopes to beat last year’s record when local businesspeople donated more than £55,000 through buying tickets along with sponsorship, auctions and raffles.

Joint headline sponsors Williamsons Solicitors and Beerhouse Self Drive Hire will boost fundraising at the sell-out lunch which has a history of attracting ‘A list’ sports personalities. 

The Sailors’ Children’s Society supports the children of seafarers all over the country and has reported a significant rise in referrals due to the cost-of-living crisis. Help is provided to mariners from fishing fleets, Royal Navy and Merchant Navy families through various grants including for food, clothing and emergency heating.

Natasha Barley, the organisation’s new CEO, said that the lunch had become a highly popular fixture on the business calendar and was key to promoting the charity’s aims and raising money to help those in desperate need.

“We’ve had a massive increase in families contacting us with no food in the cupboard. We have not experienced a volume of referrals like this in recent history, so we need support more than ever.

“The generosity of our local business community is phenomenal, and I want to thank our sponsors and everyone planning to attend. Let’s all come together and aim for another record-breaking afternoon!”

Sarah Clubley, director at Williamsons Solicitors, said: “We have been supporting the Sportsman’s Lunch for many years and it has proved a wonderful annual fundraiser with businesses from all over the region getting together and digging deep. We hope this year will be no exception.”

The auction will be hosted by Caroline Hawley from BBC One’s Bargain Hunt, prizes of which include a VIP tour and lunch on the HMS Iron Duke Royal Navy frigate. Caroline will be joined by her husband, the ex-footballer John Hawley, and, for the third consecutive year, former Olympians Jamie Baulch and Colin Jackson will attend after being inspired to provide ongoing help to the charity. Jamie will host the silent auction and Colin will ask businesses to bid for group training sessions with him.

People can bid on the Silent Auction by visiting The auction is open for bids now.

In 2022, accountancy firm RSM successfully bid for the training session with Colin Jackson, and they are selling off tickets on October 12 (the day before the lunch) to raise further funds for the Sailors Children’s Society and Dove House Hospice. Email

Associate sponsors for the lunch are James Legal and Streets Chartered Accountants. Junior sponsors are Hamers Solicitors and AON.