We hosted an incredible fundraising Comedy Night on Wednesday 15th March 2023.
We welcomed 400 members of the public to the Legend’s Lounge at Brentford FC’s GTech Community Stadium with a comedy line up that looked more like a night at the Apollo. Against us was a tube strike, and a Brentford away match that evening in Southampton but we managed to do it and as the doors opened the public flooded in to show their love and support for the Penguins which has been championing the rights of young people with Down’s syndrome since 2017.
What a night and what a line up! The kindness of the Acts that had given up their evening and performed for free was a once-in-a-lifetime event. The line-up consisted of Sally Phillips and her partner in crime, Ronni Ancona; the many faces of Alistair McGowan; the mercurial Milton Jones and a massive thank you to the fantastic Cally Beaton who was a late stand-in for Sarah Kendall who was unfortunately unwell. Finally making up the Comedy extravaganza was ex-England and Chelsea legend Graeme Le Saux making his comedy debut.
A pause in the evening gave the opportunity of an open mic for some of our older Penguin players including Captain Charlie, Big D (our first Coach with Down’s syndrome), Olly, Austin, Freddie and Louis who performed everything from magic tricks, hilarious one liners and funny anecdotes about family members.
Our founder of the Brentford Penguins FC, Allan Cockram, gave a heart-warming speech about the journey of the Club over the past 5.5 years. Starting with 5 players with Down’s syndrome and now the Club welcomes 32 players who turn up to training every week – some as far as 40 miles away! Allan humbly thanked everyone for their support and their commitment to attend the event.
Unfortunately, after 3 hours of side-splitting raucous laughter, the evening had to come to a close and finished with each celebrity performer receiving a Brentford Penguin’s FC football shirt with their name on the back. Each shirt sported the number 21 which was a nod to the genetic condition, Trisomy 21 (commonly known as Down’s syndrome) which is caused by 3rd copy of the chromosome at position 21.
The reaction from people was as emotional as the event with one Dad saying ‘it was one of the greatest days of his life’ and others wanting the whole event to go on a UK tour!
Allan and his wife Victoria, who put so much hard work in to organising the event, are still processing the magnitude of the evening but said that without the brainchild and commitment from the amazing Sally Phillips, without the kindness and support of Sally Stephens and her team at Brentford Football Club, without the love and support from the parents and families of the Brentford Penguins and without the generosity and kindness of the general public there would be NO Football Club for these funny, talented, honest and above all the most loving kids on Planet Penguin.
Money raised will go towards providing full kits for its players, the costs of running the Club, and some exciting future plans that include securing a permanent indoor facility.