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Camden News - by SARA NEWMAN
Published: 19 June 2008
Beverley Knight
Beverley Knight
Roundhouse night of glamour raises £900,000
for charity

A-list celebrities turn out in force to back Sir Torquil’s vision of reaching out to a lost generation

SIR Torquil Norman bought the Roundhouse in 1996 for £3million after being horrified to read in the New Journal that the archit­ects’ association, RIBA, wanted to turn it into a museum.

Last week, the celebrated Chalk Farm venue was worlds apart from the derelict railway building it used to be, before more than £25 million was pumped into its renovation programme.
And for retired toymaker Sir Torquil, who has lived in Gloucester Crescent for more than 20 years, a Rock and Roll Charity Gala was evidence that the building had come full circle.
It was a glamorous place in the 1970s, with the likes of the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd playing there – and on Thursday similar glittering faces walked through the doors.
Filmmaker Terry Gilliam, designer Ozwald Boateng, singer Beverly Knight, broadcaster Toyah Wilcox, politician Tessa Jowell, charity worker Nancy Dell’Olio, Suggs, and writer Anthony Horowitz were just some of the stars to grace the red carpet.
But it was never really about the famous faces. While Sir Torquil was determined to see the Roundhouse’s cultural heritage saved – of which rockstars, actors and fashionistas play a part – he has always been adamant that he bought it for one reason only: so that youngsters down on their luck could have their eyes opened to new opportunities.
“I never cease to be amazed at how wonderful the place is, and when it’s full of young people it all seems very special,” he said.
“My only achievement was to have the idea. I felt my generation had let down a generation of kids in the worst possible way. Look at the way they’re behaving. You can’t blame them – you have to blame society.”
The Roundhouse has been running creative arts projects for more than two years.
More than 12,000 teenagers have passed through its doors since it opened in July 2006.
And the showbiz event had a serious purpose. The evening raised £910,000 through its charity auction, which saw the A-list dinner guests bidding for the most exclusive of lots.
Among the prizes on offer were a gelatin print of the Gallagher brothers, which went for more then £5,000, while a tiger moth flight with Sir Torquil went for a bargain at just over £6,000.
A hospitality box at Tottenham Hotspur football club went for just under £4,000 while a chance to meet West Hampstead actor Stephen Fry was snaffled up for around at £2,670.
However the biggest draw – at £11,000 – was tickets to see the last night of the Proms.
Former Monty Python Terry Gilliam, who lives in Highgate, recalled the venue’s raucous past. “The Roundhouse was one of the first places I came to in London in 1962,” said the Amer­ican-born director.
“I have so many memories of the place. It languished for years, and then along came Sir Torquil. It’s been reborn because of one man. It’s great.”
Gala guest Barbara Broccoli, daughter of James Bond filmmaker Albert Broccoli, submitted a spontaneous prize lot on the night of four tickets to the London premiere of the up-coming Bond film and the after-show party.
Dr Leanda Kroll, who won the prize with a £7,500 bid, told the audience: “I will be taking my husband Peter – who also looks good in swimming trunks – with me.”

Going, going, gone: the lots...
and what was paid for them

Last Night at the Proms £11,000
Classic Rock and Roll Art £4,800
Arlene Phillips Dance Class £3,025
Pampering for 2 in Primrose Hill £2,500
Sting and the Police Live Tour £4,500
Photo Shoot by Sonya Winner £2,100
J Wilkinson and M Johson Print £1,400
Dinner for Ten by ‘Inn or Out’ £3,500
Eurostar year-long Golden Ticket £2,500
Zaha Hadid Giclee Print £4,750
Year’s Subscription to Conde Nast titles £5,555
2 Tickets to All Shows at Roundhouse £2,750
Lunch for Two at River Cafe £1,200
Big BBC Business Experience £2,050
Exclusive Island Retreat £5,600
Ian Fleming Centenary Package £2,600
Noel and Liam Gallagher Print £5,250
African Rhythm Massage Party £3,700
A Year’s Supply of Cobra Beer £1,500
Two VIP Tickets to Benicassim Festival £900
Hospitality Box at Spurs £3,750
Tiger Moth Flight with Sir Torquil £6,200
Ewan McGregor donated Guitars £5,200
Red Carpet outfit worn by Emma Thompson £2,200
A Cartoon by Terry Gilliam £1,500
A Case Michael Seresin’s Wine £800
Signed Poster of Helen Mirren £750
Signed Pink Floyd Box Set £1,500
Five Nights at Almyra, Cyprus £3,200
Meet Stephen Fry £2,670

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