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Manchester United legend hosts star-studded charity gala 

04 November 2022

We are very grateful to footballing legend Andy Cole who hosted a star-studded charity gala raising over £100,000 for vital research into kidney disease last night.  

The Andy Cole Gala Dinner took place at The Dorchester in London and was an incredible evening, full of fun, emotion and hope. It brought together famous faces from the world of sport and television including former footballers, Sol Campbell and Fabrice Muamba as well as ITV newsreader Julie Etchingham and BAFTA award winning writer Helen Serafinowicz. 

The evening was hosted by ITV News arts editor Nina Nannar. Nina shared her family’s story for the first time since her husband Steve Ronson, who had been fighting kidney disease, sadly passed away earlier this year.  

Andy Cole and Nina Nannar
Nina Nannar and Andy Cole

As many of our supporters will recall, Andy had a life-changing transplant in 2017, when his nephew, Alexander Palmer, became his kidney donor. In 2020 Andy joined forces with us to set up the Fund to raise money for research into preventing transplant rejection and making transplants possible for more people – and into the best ways to support patients’ mental health and wellbeing.  

Andy Cole said: “Becoming a kidney patient is the toughest battle I’ve ever endured, but it has also pushed me to want to change things and improve the lives of other kidney patients. Visiting the Kidney Research UK labs in Bristol was the spark for the Fund. The research reassured me that I’m not the only one going through this. I could completely identify with young patients who described their symptoms and how they felt. That hope has really helped me to come to terms with my condition. The Gala has been an opportunity to raise vital funds for Kidney Research UK and to appreciate how research can change lives” 

An evening full of entertainment

After hearing from Andy himself and former footballer and fellow kidney patient Wayne Andrews guests enjoyed performances from The Gold Vocal Collective, Solid Steel, and the Black Living Donor Choir. The after party featured a set from former BBC Radio 1 presenter DJ Spoony.   

Attendees heard insights into the latest innovations in kidney research from Cambridge University’s Professor Mike Nicholson whose team has changed the blood type of three donor human kidneys, potentially making a transplant a realistic proposition for more people who are harder to match.  

Proceeds from the Andy Cole Fund Gala will fund innovative research selected by Kidney Research UK, to improve patient outcomes for years to come. 

DJ Spoony
DJ Spoony

Sandra Currie, chief executive of Kidney Research UK, said: “From the outset, Andy has been passionate about the research questions that are most important to him which has been reflected in the Fund itself. We have already made a really strong start, campaigning for patients to access mental health support from qualified professionals who understand the ups and downs of kidney disease and our efforts to improve transplants, so more people receive their ‘gift of life’, are going from strength to strength.  

“The future of research is bright thanks to Andy’s commitment to kidney research and with the help of the Andy Cole Fund, we can take further strides in enhancing the lives of all kidney patients. We’re so grateful to Andy for all his support, and to all our guests and supporters for their incredible generosity.”

With special thanks to the following supporters who made the event possible:

  • Andy Cole
  • DJ Spoony
  • Duppy White
  • Gary King
  • Laura Prentice
  • Black Living Donor Choir
  • Manchester United
  • Nina Nannar
  • Professor Mike Nicholson
  • The Dorchester
  • The Smart Group
  • Tongue Tied Management
  • Wayne Andrews

Find out more about the Andy Cole Fund and the work that it supports in our annual report.


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