Politicians, footballers and chief executives mingled at a champagne reception, serenaded by a string quartet. The region’s businesses were out in force last night to celebrate and raise funds in the name of former Manchester City Council chief executive Sir Howard Bernstein.
See below for gallery of attendees
The dinner for 800 attendees, largely from the business world, was organised by the Lord Mayor’s charity I Love MCR, and raised £350,000 for a Sir Howard Bernstein Endowment Fund which will support “the ambitions of young Mancunians”.
Sir Howard Bernstein spent 46 years working at the council, and left his position as chief executive on 31 March. Far from retiring, he’s already announced roles with the University of Manchester and Deloitte.
George Osborne gave the keynote speech at the dinner, predicting “I suspect we haven’t seen the last of Sir Howard.”
The sold-out event at Manchester Central saw companies pay around £5,000 for a table, and included a raffle and auction.
On arrival at the dinner, property professionals who had worked closely with Bernstein over the years described him as “determined” and “visionary”, while Rachel Haugh, co-founder of SimpsonHaugh & Partners, said she expected “a poignant evening”.
Tributes were paid to Bernstein from colleagues including the first chief executive of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Eamonn Boylan, and friends and family members.
A lifelong fan of Manchester City Football Club, Bernstein was presented with Manchester City shirts from the 1971/72 and 2016/17 seasons to mark the start and end of his council career, by past and present captains Tony Book and Vincent Kompany. Long-time friend Marty Edelman, director of City Football Group and executive chairman of Manchester Life, also gave a speech.
Not surprisingly, there was a strong presence from the property sector, reflecting the outgoing chief executive’s deep involvement with the development community in the city. There were representatives from every major developer Bernstein worked with over the years, including Bruntwood, Argent, Allied London, Renaker, Peel, Himor and Capital & Centric.
Architects were out in force, with directors from SimpsonHaugh & Partners, 5plus, Hodder+Partners, and Studio Egret West amongst others.
Contractors Laing O’Rourke, Artez, and Eric Wright were present alongside figures from the consultancy world; Cushman & Wakefield, Deloitte, Arcadis and OBI Property.
Bernstein said: “I feel honoured that this dinner has encouraged so many people in the region to help the young people of our city reach their full potential. Manchester is an ambitious city full of talented individuals and it’s a real privilege to see everyone working together like this. Thank you to everyone who has taken part.”
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