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Manchester United Gala Dinner raises money for UNICEF

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José Mourinho leads his team at the United for Unicef Gala Dinner as £160,000 is raised for children in Thailand.

José Mourinho and his first-team squad were out in force this evening as they attended the prestigious United for Unicef Gala Dinner at Old Trafford.

The 18th annual event took place on Wednesday 15th November and raised a fantastic £160,000 for Unicef, the world’s leading children’s organisation.

Offering fans the chance to rub shoulders with their footballing heroes, the black-tie event is the highlight of the club’s social calendar and was this year hosted by television presenter and lifelong United supporter Rachel Riley, and BBC Sports presenter Mark Chapman. 

The auction was hosted by Key 103 DJ Darren Proctor and offered guests the chance to bid on a number of once-in-a-lifetime prizes; the star lot being an invitation to get ‘up, close and personal’ with the Manchester United first team at a behind-the-scenes club event.

Also in attendance was British grime superstar Stormzy, who stole the show with a performance of his latest single ‘Blinded by Your Grace.’

Lifelong United fan and friend of the club, Stormzy was pleased to donate his time for Unicef, and also return to the club following his album signing earlier this year.  “It’s a pleasure; things like this for me are an opportunity to do something positive and I’m always happy to support,” he said. “It’s always a welcoming vibe at Old Trafford as well, it’s a massive club but very family orientated so it’s good to be here.”

All funds raised from this year’s dinner will go towards Unicef’s vital work in Thailand, to support education programmes for children with limited or no access to schooling.  These children are among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable children in Thailand. 

Many children in Thailand are denied access to education because of poverty, disability, gender discrimination and migrant status. Unicef supports education for every child to provide them with the skills and knowledge to lead a better life and break the cycle of poverty for families, communities and countries.

José Mourinho said, “I have always been very supportive of Unicef, and my team and I are proud to once again be a part of this amazing event to support vulnerable children in Thailand. We have raised a fantastic amount of money tonight, which will help to support children with limited or no access to schooling, something that every child should without question have a right to.”

Attending his first Unicef Dinner since joining the club in July this year, Victor Lindelöf said, “It’s going to be a fun night and it’s always nice to dress up a little bit, plus it’s great to be a part of this, because Unicef do great work with kids all over the world so yes, it feels good to be here.”

Henrikh Mkhitaryan added, “It’s very important for the kids; every child should have a good childhood, to learn how to read and to write, so I hope we can make a difference.”

Unicef UK Deputy Executive Director, Catherine Cottrell, said, “This season marks the 18th year of our partnership with Manchester United and on behalf of Unicef I would like to extend our thanks to the club, the players and fans, for helping to change the lives of millions of children around the globe. Uniting the world’s largest football club with the world’s leading children’s organisation is a powerful collaboration and we know that together we can continue to create a better future for children.”

The United for Unicef partnership is the longest running of its kind between a football club and a global children’s organisation and to date has raised over £4 million, helping to change the lives of millions of children worldwide.