The British Polo Day Charity Cup – presented by Land Rover – saw over 800 VIP guests and picnickers descend on the prestigious Black Bears private estate and polo ground, Henley-on-Thames.
Marking the beginning of the English summer, the second British Polo Day Charity Cup was the home leg of its Global Series. Guests including His Highness Gaj Singh II The Maharaja of Marwar-Jodhpur, Lord Frederick Windsor, Duke of Argyll, Lord Archer, Lord Guthrie, Eve Branson, Carol Woolton, the Marchioness of Milford-Haven, Viscount Melville and the Atlantic Polo Team not only enjoyed a day of top polo in the glorious sunshine but raised a staggering US$310,605 for charity – a record for British Polo Day!
Over lunch, professional auctioneer, author and political figure Lord Archer commenced the auction raising money for the benefit of Head Injury Through Sport, The James Wentworth Stanley Memorial Fund, The Eve Branson Foundation, Great Ormond Street Hospital, the Brooke and the British Red Cross (who, as part of their 60-year relationship with Land Rover, provided first aid support on the day from a Land Rover ambulance). With lots including a week for two at Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island, tickets to the Monaco Grand Prix (watching from none other than Eddie Jordan’s boat) and a stunning pair of early art deco diamond earrings, the live auction (and accompanying iBid silent auction) raised an impressive US$310,605, bringing the British Polo Day philanthropic total to an incredible US$1,230,386.
Before the afternoon’s polo commenced, guests and VIPs joined Royal Salute Brand Ambassador – The 13th Duke of Argyll, Torquhil Ian Campbell – in a Royal Salute Whisky 21 year old toast to the playing teams. To celebrate whisky’s long tradition of friendship, each guest was given a beautiful silver Quaic which was promptly filled with whisky, drunk and – with a cry of Slange Var! – hastily upturned on the head! This special moment proved to be the perfect way to mark the start of the day’s polo.
The British Polo Day Charity Cup is the home leg of the British Polo Day Series and this year’s event was the return fixture for British Polo Day Singapore and the Atlantic Polo Team’s celebratory match, following their grueling Atlantic race.
In the first match of the day – the British Polo Day Charity Cup presented by Land Rover – the Royal Salute British Exiles Atlantic Polo Team put aside their oars and dusted off their mallets for a closely-fought battle with The InterContinental London Park Lane Commonwealth Team, which resulted in a 6 -3 victory to The Commonwealth.
During the second match – the Hackett Trophy – spectators enjoyed an award-winning modern British Afternoon Tea created by Executive Chef Paul Bates and team at InterContinental London Park Lane. Over a delicious array of cakes, tarts and scones, the Oxford Group Holdings British Schools Polo Team and Hackett Team Singapore took to the pitch for an exhilarating match which saw the British Schools Team win 8 -6.
As the sun went down on Black Bears, the victorious teams look their place on the podium for the British Polo Day prizegiving. The coveted Charity Cup and Hackett Trophy were presented to the winners by His Highness Gaj Singh II The Maharaja of Marwar-Jodhpur, Duke of Argyll and Urs Schwarzenbach. The Holland & Holland Shot of the Day went to Max Gottschalk (of The Commonwealth Team), while Jo Chauveau set the style stakes off the pitch – winning Zaeem Jamal’s Best Dressed Lady – and the handsome ‘Q’, Best Playing Pony.
The official afterparty then kicked off with an authentic Argentinian asado, alongside a lively-looking Rosebery – an iconic Routemaster bus fashioned into a double-decker bar, sponsored by The Drury Club. VIPs and guests then headed back into London and straight onto the dance floor of ‘London’s Best Boutique Club’, The Drury Club.
Commenting on the British Polo Day Charity Cup Ed Olver, CEO of British Polo Day says: “We always greatly look forward to the home leg of the British Polo Day Global Series and this year’s event has set a new precedent. The sun shone, our guests and VIPs enjoyed the most exquisite Theo Randall-authored lunch and a brilliant afternoon of polo but – above all – we were thrilled to set a new British Polo Day philanthropic record! We raised a superb US$310,504 for six wonderful charities.”