A popular award-winning Indian restaurant in the West Midlands has raised £14,000 for a cancer charity.
Ellora, situated on the main High Street in the village of Knowle, organised the fundraiser – which coincided with its 47th anniversary – to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support, the national cancer charity.
The funds, which includes a donation from Barclays Bank PLC, were raised through a raffle draw and an auction.
Ellora’s manager Mr Mash Hakim said: “I am genuinely overwhelmed at the generosity of our well-wishers, our customers. Tonight was a memorable evening. It makes us enormously proud and gives us great satisfaction in giving back to the local community whose loyalty and sincerity continues to motivate us.”
The Bollywood-themed fundraiser dinner and dance event, priced at £35 per head, attracted a house-full audience of over 200 guests, of all ages, reflecting the multicultural make-up of the Midlands region.
Founded in 1968 Ellora prides itself on its exemplary cuisine and its loyal customer base.
Mr Hakim said when third generation customers talk about their first and second generation relatives having visited Ellora, it adds to the motivation and passion of the team at Ellora, which includes three experienced chefs, each boasting their own speciality dishes.
The family-friendly event was graced by the Mayor and Mayoress of Solihull, Councillor Mike Robinson and Mrs Jenny Robinson, who shared their personal story of how they lost their 36-year-old daughter, Emma Walker, to cervical cancer in February 2010.
Councillor Robinson said: “I miss my daughter everyday – she fought the cancer to the very end. As a father it is devastating to sit with your child while she slowly slips away you feel so inadequate and it is beyond heart breaking. Her memory lives on and yes I am sad but also proud to have had such a wonderfully brave and lovely daughter.”
He added: “A third of families will during a lifetime experience cancer in one form or another. The consequences for those with the condition and for the family can quite literally be life changing. We must do all we can to find a cure for this insidious and indiscriminate disease.”
Also present at this historic occasion was the founder and original owner of the Ellora, Devi Compton. She, along with her Late husband Sayeedur Rahman ran the Ellora from 1970 – 2001. “I feel honoured that the new owners since 2001 decided to keep the name Ellora going,” she said. “It is not only a superb restaurant, but an institution,” said 64-year-old Mrs Compton.
The evening featured a five-course meal, Bollywood dances, a raffle draw and auction, a henna artist, a cake-cutting ceremony, speeches, a sitar player and more. Auction prizes included a signed Birmingham City Football Club T-shirt, an experience of driving a Lamborghini, a round of golf for four people and a case of Cobra Beer.
In addition, to mark the Ellora’s 47th anniversary, a special souvenir was unveiled which featured goodwill messages from Her Majesty The Queen, actor Nitin Ganatra, MPs Julian Knight and Jess Phillips, popular comedian Shazia Mirza and Lord Karan Bilimoria, founder of Cobra Beer.
Customer John Hinton said: “I wish to congratulate the management in their continued success in running their group of restaurants. Personally I have been a customer at the Ellora since 1974 and appreciate not only the quality of food, but the professional, polite and enthusiastic members of staff.”
Julian Knight, Conservative MP for Solihull, said: “It gives me great pleasure in congratulating the team at Ellora on completing 47 years. This is a historic occasion, a jolly good reason to celebrate with all those acquainted with Ellora. I send my best wishes to you all.”