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Over 160 celebrities, family and friends of the famous songwriter, Les Reed OBE, gathered at the London Marriott Hotel in Regents Park on Sunday 8th September to celebrate his life and achievements. Although best known for writing popular hits such as ‘Delilah’ and ‘It’s Not Unusual’ for Sir Tom Jones and ‘The Last Waltz’ for Engelbert Humperdinck, Les’ talent encompassed a far greater musical spectrum and included writing, arranging and performing.

The event commenced with a champagne reception providing an opportunity for guests to mingle with the numerous celebrities, including music industry legends such as Rick Wakeman OBE, Patti Boulaye OBE, Jess Conrad OBE, PJ Proby and Cheryl Baker of Eurovision fame. With other well-known stars also in attendance, such as Anita Harris and Duncan Norvelle, the drinks party provided an informal and highly convivial atmosphere before the ‘main event’.

With the day being hosted by the Province of East Kent Freemasons, the reception area also provided an opportunity for guests to find out more about freemasonry and the tremendous range of causes supported by the Masonic Charitable Fund.

After the ‘welcome drinks’, guests were invited to take their tables within the main function room. Following speeches of introduction, attendees were stunned by the performance from a young songwriter, Charlie Wallbank. A friend of one of Les’ grandsons, Charlie also spoke eloquently about the inspiration and encouragement he had received from Les and that one of the songs had actually been composed on Les’ own precious grand piano.

The four course lunch was interspersed with videos about Les’ life and concluded with a moving, emotional speech from Donna, Les’ daughter, who was supported by her sons, Alex and Dominic.

Les Reed OBE's daughter, Donna, receives a plaque from Mark Bassant, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, East Kent Freemasons

Donna was also presented with a beautiful glass plaque to commemorate the day by Mark Bassant, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Province of East Kent Freemasons.

There were speeches and song performances throughout the afternoon including an ‘acapella’ rendition of The Last Waltz from Valerie Masters, a rousing performance of ‘Delilah’ from Welsh singing sensation, John Owen-Jones as well as the eternally-youthful, Patti Boulaye, OBE.

Everyone spoke of Les with such affection and respect. Songwriting partner, Barry Mason gave a personal homage to the ‘great man’. The now 80 year old, 1960s pop sensation, PJ Proby, recounted memories of Les and concluded with an impromptu performance of ‘To Make a Big Man Cry’.

Les Reed OBE would have been proud of the wonderful event and certainly supportive of the fundraising efforts during the day. The raffle included fantastic prizes and a Silent Auction provided an opportunity to bid for an array of unusual holidays and experiences as well as memorabilia.

The proceedings concluded with dancing to the wonderful sounds of Renee and the Big River Band including, of course, many of Les’ compositions.

Dancing to Renee and the Big River Band

All profits from the event are in support of the East Kent Freemasons 2025 Festival which has a target of £3.5 million to be donated to the Masonic Charitable Foundation.

The event was organised by the Forget-Me-Not Society, a charitable organisation with a purpose of celebrating the life and talent of departed entertainment and sports celebrities as well as other famous people who have made significant contributions to their respective professions. Headed by Lord Martyn Rose and David King MBE, the Forget-Me-Not Society is sponsored by The Patriot Group.

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