Centre scores $160k in thriller

The fundraising dinner at the Ritz-Carlton for the Centre of Excellence raised an amazing figure on Friday night.

Ramoon, left

Ramoon (left) was grateful for his signed top from Romario Photo: Ron Shillingford

Over $160,000 was collected, mainly from auctioning football memorabilia and an astonishing $100,000 came from the Greenlight company’s CEO Len Goldberg. The auction was expertly conducted by likeable Irishman Patrick O’Brien.

‘Len’s $100,000 contribution is overwhelming for Greenlight to embrace us like this,’ said Jeffrey Webb, president of the Cayman Islands Football Association. ‘We are deeply grateful to him for investing in our vision. It speaks volumes for them and shows their class. I hope other companies can copy Greenlight for this project.’

As the emphasis was on helping the youth, the evening began with a performance from the John A Cumber school’s choir. A girl and boy footballer also displayed their ball juggling skills. Governor Stuart Jack attended and he gave a rousing speech about how important it was to give to such a worthy cause.

Other big contributors were Mark and Cindy Scotland who spent over $20,000, most of which came from the auction of a football jersey signed by all 22 players in last year’s all-stars football match in South Africa in honour of Nelson Mandela’s 89th birthday.

Scotland, president of Bodden Town Football Club, is also the managing director of road paving company ACRP.

The other signed Mandela jersey from that match was bought by Henry Smith for $17,000 who spent over $20,000 in total. Englishman Smith, an avid Manchester United fan, is a partner at Maples and Calder.

Other big contributors included the night’s MC Canover Watson and there were plenty of other generous guests, including politicians Kurt Tibbetts and Alden McLaughlin. Noel Williams, president of the Cayman Islands Volleyball Federation, dipped his hands in his pockets several times.

Former Cayman women’s footballer Sophia Dilbert kindly contributed to the fundraising as did her two women friends on her table. Many others contributed.

It was a fantastic night not just to honour Romario’s presence but also to pay tribute to the 25 years service the brilliant Lee Ramoon has given to Cayman football.

Ramoon received a signed Brazil No.11 shirt from Romario and a special honour from the Cayman Islands Football Association. Many other players, officials and coaches were rewarded for their great service, including Elbert McLean, Ivan Farrington, Godfrey Bowen, Cecil Walton, Paul McField and Cline Glidden.

Funniest incident was at the end of the night when Kurt Tibbetts decided that there should be a final push towards raising the millions needed for the completion of the Centre of Excellence.

He lined up 17 past and present Cayman national players and requested $1,000 each in sponsorship. When the offers stalled after four, Tibbetts amusingly singled out people in the ballroom for a grand each. ‘Sandra, tell your dad he just paid $1,000 for this player,’ he said to one woman to a chorus of laughter. Nice touch.

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