Emirates Stadium played host to The Arsenal Foundation Ball on Wednesday night, with the Club's annual charity fundraiser raising more than £300,000 to help transform the lives of even more young people in the UK and overseas.
Hosted by popular comedian and Arsenal fan Matt Lucas, and attended by Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal first-team squad and a host of Club legends, the night proved to be a spectacular occasion fusing fundraising and entertainment. All money raised on the night will help The Arsenal Foundation support more education and sport projects both locally and globally, including those of the Club's global charity partner, Save the Children.
The night got underway with Wenger welcoming assembled guests before introducing a video highlighting the work of The Arsenal Foundation over the past year and announcing four new ambassadors - Liam Brady, Martin Keown, Robert Pires and Bob Wilson. They will share their vast knowledge and presence as the Foundation looks to extend its work further and deeper in the future.
To celebrate Bob's new role as an ambassador, the Club also announced a new three-year partnership with the Arsenal legend's charity, Willow Foundation, which provides special days for seriously ill young adults.
Speaking about the partnership, Bob said: "Having been involved with Arsenal for more than 50 years, first as a player, then coach and subsequently with my charity, it's a huge honour to be chosen as an ambassador for The Arsenal Foundation. Formalising my role at Arsenal means I can look forward to many more happy years with the Club, which is so close to my heart. And for Willow Foundation to become an official charity partner is an enormous boost for the charity, with a host of exciting opportunities over the next three years."
Star of the X Factor, Jahmene Douglas and The Voice's Tyler James then wowed guests with live performances before the players and guests got stuck into the live and silent auctions. A number of money-can't-buy items were on offer throughout the evening and the players were keen to get involved.
Jack WIlshere successfully bid £5,000 for a shirt, signed by members of the famous 'Invincibles' squad and also picked up a replica 1971 goalkeeping jersey, signed by Wilson. Wojciech Szczesny, meanwhile, bid £2,000 for a framed and signed pair of running spikes from Arsenal fan and Olympic hero Mo Farah, while Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott entered a bidding war for a game of fourballs at Gleneagles - home to the 2014 Ryder Cup. The Welshman eventually prevailed with a winning bid of £1,000.
To wrap up the evening, the Club launched an emergency appeal for Save the Children, which will enable children affected by the crisis in Syria to regain a sense of normality by providing temporary learning spaces to help them continue their education in a safe environment.
The entire first-team squad showed incredible generosity to donate £75,000 towards the appeal, with Arsène Wenger personally giving a further £25,000. An extra £15,000 worth of donations from guests means that Save the Children will benefit from a total of £115,000 towards its critical emergency work in Syria.
For more details about the work of The Arsenal Foundation, click here.