Celebrations to mark 25 years of SIPP began with an event at the Irish Embassy in London hosted by The Ambassador Adrian O’Neill and his wife Aisling.
While the surroundings were elegant the hard work and dedication of all at SIPP and those who use its services was central to the evening.
Peter Gill from SIPP was a little nervous as he stood behind a small podium and told the gathering he was not used to public speaking. Within minutes as Peter spoke about the work he and the rest of the team do, he had the room captivated. Without giving any real names he detailed the case of one man who came to the UK from Ireland as a teenager seeking a better life. He worked cash in hand for decades at a time when Irish in the UK were not always welcome. He never built a stable life and as he got older found himself with little or nothing. Peter described how like many in the same situation the man was proud and ashamed to ask for help. When he finally came across SIPP his life was transformed. In Peter’s words SIPP “gave him his identity back”. He re-engaged with long lost family and had a far more enriched and happy life in his later years. There was not a dry eye in the room as Peter told this story.
Other wonderful words of support and thanks came from The Ambassador and from Nora Higgins, but it was Peter’s first hand account of the work that SIPP does that will be remembered. At the event were fantastic supporters and sponsors, some long standing and some new ones whom everyone at SIPP were delighted to welcome. The Leader of Southwark Council Peter John OBE was also there continuing his long standing support for SIPP.
Raising money for SIPP is vital and these supporters were reassured that their help and every penny donated is being put to very good use.
It was a lovely evening where all the staff and supporters of SIPP enjoyed a drink and the now famous Irish Embassy black pudding canapés.