A London entrepreneur was so touched by footballer Jermain Defoe's charity appeal that he has pledged to lose nearly FIVE STONE to help homeless and abused children in St Lucia. The Spurs and England striker launched The Jermain Defoe Foundation in June and held a fund-raising gala dinner in London last month. Entrepreneur Jonathan Palmer, who was among the guests, decided he could do more than buy a raffle ticket to help.
"I was inspired by what I saw at the dinner. The perception is that St Lucia is a luxury holiday destination. Tourism certainly benefits the economy but there’s a lot of poverty and deprivation, especially amongst the children.
"Jermain and his family are committed to making a difference to the lives of hundreds of disadvantaged young people and I plan to do my bit to help,” he said. Jonathan (44) weighed in at 20 stone at the official launch of his sponsored diet on Friday. He plans to lose the equivalent of 12 house bricks – an incredible 72lbs – over the next six months to raise money for the charity’s projects in St Lucia. These include creating two play parks and building a second children’s home in the south of the island. Jermain, who supervised the weigh-in, said: “It’s fantastic that Jonathan is helping us to raise money for kids in St Lucia. It’s not going to be easy but I know he can do it. I’ll be checking his progress and encouraging him along the way."
Jonathan, co-founder of IT firm Integral Specialist Services, is no stranger to fund-raising - he once floated down the Thames in a lorry inner tube to raise money for his local hospice.
To sponsor Jonathan, join him on his sponsored diet or raise funds yourself in another way, please follow the link: http://www.justgiving.com/jermaindefoefoundation
The charity's first gala dinner was held at The Grosvenor House in Park Lane, London, on 16th September and raised £80,000 to help homeless and abused children in St Lucia.
The event was hosted by ITV's entertainment correspondent Nina Nannar and Sky Sports' Chris Kamara, with auctioneer Jeffrey Archer encouraging guests to raise as much as possible to fund a new children's home on the island.
Around 300 guests were entertained by Maverick Sabre, Loveable Rogues and theatrical singer Rosalind James, who has appeared in 'Les Miserables' on the London stage. They also saw film footage of Jermain in St Lucia with children from the Holy Family Children's Home, which he and his family have supported for many years.
Auction prizes included a luxury holiday to St Lucia, VIP seats in Jermain's box at White Hart Lane and framed shirts and boots from David Beckham, Gareth Bale and Mo Farah. Among the guests were boxer Evander Holyfield, Chelsea players Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole and Jermain's Spurs team-mates.