A phoenix rises

A Harry Potter-themed Save the Children charity Winter Gala at the Guildhall

The event

Guests do not remember alighting on the Hogwarts Express. Yet they find themselves shopping for wands from Ollivanders in Diagon Alley, surrounded by more candles than you could shake a broomstick at and eating edible pages ripped out of spell books for their High Tea. Floating phantoms and papier mâché winged wonders watch over them.

There are hundreds of feathers on every refectory table, and keys too. Many wonder when they will start flying.

And then suddenly a scarlet phoenix comes to life, there at the other end of the Great Hall. It flaps its mighty wings, powered by four expert puppeteers. Everyone is spellbound by this symbol of hope in their midst, both the beating heart of the boy wizard’s tale and of Save the Children’s never-ending story.

Imagination takes flight.

The experience

The reaction