Biggest names in property raise £145K to fight knife crime


East London based The Wickers Charity, recently brought together some of the biggest names in the property industry, at a Great Gatsby themed black-tie event, to raise money for the Wickers’ cause – reducing gang related crime and supporting the East London youth. The event, which was sponsored by London property developer Aitch Group, was held in the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms and saw a line-up of white-collar boxing matches alongside live and silent auctions. The raised funds, after costs, were in excess of £145,000.

The night, with guest host SkySports Boxing Presenter Johnny Nelson, saw six hard fought boxing matches between notable property industry names such as Henry Smith CEO of Aitch Group and Founderof The Wickers Charity, James Feltham Senior BTR Lettings Negotiator at CBRE and Director of New Homes at Kingsbury Stone Graeme Grossman, alongside boxing names such as Emmanuel Blessed and Justin Benn.

Prizes that were put up for auction included a date with famous TOWIE resident James ‘Arg’ Argent, a holiday on a luxury private yacht and art by contemporary multidisciplinary artist Lauren Baker. Guests included Sales and Marketing Director of Avanton David Ronson, representatives from Estate agencies such as KALMARs and family and friends of the Smith family and Wickers Charity. James Argent also performed some songs throughout the event with the closing musical act of the night being soul singer Heather Small.

The Wickers Charity mission is to deliver activities that keep young people off the street and build their life skills, provide positive role models that give hope for a better life and prepare them for a positive future, as well as giving them access to opportunities for employment. Overall, the aim is to prevent young people from entering a life of crime by providing opportunities to succeed in life. With a personal connection to the consequences of knife crime in East London, having lost his brother-in-law, Founder Henry Smith has made it his own personal mission to make sure other families do not suffer in the same way. Mr Smith’s family are also heavily involved in the charity, including daughter Brogan Garrit-Smith who is Chief Fundraiser at The Wickers Charity and helped create and make the event the success that it was.

Mr Smith and supporting team members have previously tackled the ‘toughest four days on skis’ in the Alps earlier in 2022 and climbed the tallest peak in Antarctica, Mount Vinson in 2019, raising a combined £190,000 for the charity.

Murders and knife crime in London are at an all-time high, with the highest number of teenage homicides caused by knife crime in modern times recorded in 2021, the importance of charities such as The Wickers Charity remains vitally important. The lessons and skills learnt, along with the positive social interactions made at The Wickers Charity can be life changing.

In the past 18 months, The Wickers Charity worked with many businesses and collaborated with other local originations, to deliver employability programmes and workshops. The courses are designed to ensure the young people involved are set on the right path with the right support, rather than falling trap to gang related crime. It is thanks to events like the Great Gatsby night, along with many other initiatives hosted by The Wickers Charity ,that the team hope to be able to continue to fund the programmes.

Henry Smith Founder of The Wickers Charity and CEO at Aitch Group says “The Wickers Charity aids a cause that I am personally extremely passionate about. Having lost my brother-in-law to knife crime, I have set out to try and positively impact the lives of the children in East London with the hope of reducing knife crime in the borough and the capital. We are so thankful for our industry community, friends and family for coming together to raise much needed money for a cause that we are so passionate about.”

Brogan Garrit-Smith Chief Fundraiser at The Wickers Charity says “I am beyond grateful to those who participated in the white-collar boxing at our Great Gatsby event and to those who helped us raise money for The Wickers Charity through their auction bids. The money raised is invaluable to our cause and will fund programmes for the East London youth to encourage and keep them on the right path, changing the future of our streets.”