A royal good time for Cornerstone

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From left, Tom Manley, Susan Hreljac and Shawn McCarthy at a reception hosted by Ron Zambonini and his wife, Gail, at their Nepean home on Wednesday, June 13, 2012, in support of Ryan's Well Foundation.(Photo by Caroline Phillips)

It was all “pumps and circumstance” at the Cornerstone garden party and fashion show hosted by British High Commissioner Andrew Pocock and his wife, Julie, last Sunday at their residence, Earnscliffe.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip look-alikes were heralded by a fanfare of trumpets from the Governor General’s Foot Guards as a sold-out crowd of 365 took in couturier Frank Sukhoo’s fashion show.

Tiara-wearing models paraded in glamorous gowns and chic suits. Playing host was her Majesty, performed by TL Rader with her husband, Chris, as the Duke of Edinburgh.

MP Paul Dewar, MPP Yasir Naqvi and Metro Glebe owner Jim McKeen escorted some of the models to their runway positions. Fashion plates included Julie Pocock, who was confident and poised in her black sequined tuxedo suit with matching pillbox hat, and mezzo-soprano Julie Nesrallah, who later enchanted the crowd with her gorgeous voice.

The high commissioner encouraged guests to “spend like sailors” for Cornerstone Housing for Women, an agency that provides emergency shelter and safe, permanent housing. An Air Canada trip to London and diamond earrings from Jubilee Jewellers were among the prizes raffled.

Present were Cornerstone director Sue Garvey; event co-chairs Carole Whittall and Margaret Torrance; and Margo Hoyt, who was happy to MC as long as she got to wear “an awesome hat.” She most certainly did, courtesy of Hats Etc.

Stellar cellar evening

Sure, basement parties can be sketchy but that wasn’t the case with An Evening in Roger’s Cellar held Tuesday at Roger’s House, a palliative care and respite-care residence for children.

Some 85 guests took the elevator down, where hors d’oeuvres and wine awaited. Roger’s House, named after former Ottawa Senators assistant coach Roger Neilson, is planning a $300,000 basement renovation that will create a rec room for teens and a teaching and presentation space for volunteers.

It was the first trip to the basement for Roger’s House board member Barry Turner. “This has got huge potential,” Turner, who sat as an MP back in the Mulroney days, said as he sized up the area.

In the crowd was Sens president Cyril Leeder talking wine with Sens player Kyle Turris. Leeder brought wine from his own collection to serve as one of the special guest sommeliers. So did Sens team doctor Don Chow and Roger’s House honorary chairs Chris Neil and his wife, Caitlin.

“It’s been an honour for me to be a part of Roger’s House,” said Neil, a father of three, of taking over the position from his friend and former Sens teammate Mike Fisher.

Spotted were Emily Farrell of Scotiabank, Al Roberts from the Sens Foundation, consultant Dave Ready, Roger’s House manager Marion Rattray and such loyal board members as funeral home owner Julie Tubman and chartered accountant Ian Hendry.

The evening raised $26,000.

Priming the well

Former Cognos chairman Ron Zambonini is the first to admit his palatial property has an abundance of water at its disposal, from automatic lawn sprinklers to an outdoor swimming pool to multi-head showers in the bathrooms. There’s even a bidet that never gets used.

Some people have to walk miles to get to clean water, he recognized while addressing guests at a reception he and his wife, Gail, threw Wednesday for Ryan’s Well Foundation at their spectacular home in Nepean’s Orchard Estates.

As well as play hosts, the Zamboninis made a generous donation to kick off the summer campaign for Ryan’s Well Foundation.

The charity got its start from a six-year-old boy, Ryan Hreljac, of Kemptville, who determinedly did extra chores to raise money to build a well in Africa. His vision has led to 700-plus projects in 16 countries, creating clean water and sanitation for 750,000 people.

Hreljac, 21, is working this summer in Halifax, where he’s also going to university. His mother, Susan, attended with husband Mark, and spoke about the lessons she’s learned from her son, like realizing anyone can make a difference in this world.

On hand were Ryan’s Well Foundation executive director Jane Baird and the board chairman, journalist Shawn McCarthy. Former political strategist Rick Anderson and Michelle Williams, parents of the late Jaimie Anderson, 23, attended. It’s in their daughter’s memory funds that were raised to build two wells and three springs in Uganda. Also seen were lawyer Lawrence Greenspon with his date, Angela Larivière, creative director at United Way; Tom Manley, formerly with Cognos and Nortel, and Grete Hale.

Hands-on at the farm

Around Town left the modern castle in the countryside to drop into a charming old barn at the Canada Agriculture Museum for its sixth annual Baskets with Panache.

The $48,527 raised Wednesday will allow for thousands of kids with financial or physical challenges to attend the museum’s programs and day camps to gain hands-on farm experience.

Wally Parsons was back to chair the event. It featured creative gift baskets sold to bidders in a country fair-like setting, with chow catered by Thyme & Again.

Special guests included a three-day-old piglet, seen swaddled and gently held by the museum’s director general, Kerry-Leigh Burchill.

NAC Foundation and Ottawa Cancer Fondation

Up Close and Unplugged brought a bit of the bayou to the National Arts Centre with a night of gourmet dining followed by an intimate concert with Canadian bluesman Colin James.

Thursday’s sold-out event drew a crowd of 170 and netted $162,000 for the NAC Foundation and the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation (ORCF).

Returning as event co-chair was Peter Charbonneau, who described the annual event as “a great way to have fun but, at the same time, recognize two great causes.” Charbonneau sits on the NAC Foundation’s finance and audit committee and co-chairs the cancer foundation’s Courage Campaign

Tickets aren’t cheap – $1,000-a-plate – but three-quarters of that cost is a charitable donation.

On hand were Charbonneau’s co-chair, philanthropic planner Peter Nicholson of WCPD; the ORCF’s CEO, Linda Eagen; NAC Foundation CEO Jayne Watson; and Tony Bennett of presenting sponsor BMO Harris Private Banking.

Citizen’s editor-in-chief and publisher, Gerry Nott, brought his partner, Postmedia News health reporter, Sharon Kirkey, and there was no shortage of sponsors and philanthropic leaders like Stephen Greenberg, Barbara Crook and Sam Firestone. Absent was NAC president Peter Herrndorf, who’s on medical leave until this summer while recovering from cancer treatment.

Carolyn001@sympatico.ca

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