COLD COMFORT AS ICE GALA NETS £150K FOR ARCTIC TREKKERS

BATTERSEA Power Station was transformed into a chilly Arctic cave last Thursday for an “extravagant farewell” for a team of eight wounded servicemen preparing to walk to the North Pole.

The private event for 500 guests was the Ice and Diamonds send-off ball to raise money for the trekkers’ charity Walking for Wounded before the team sets off next spring.

Tables at the party were snapped up for up to £1,000 within hours of going on sale by City firms including Lloyds Development Capital, Carillon and sponsor Artemis Investment, helping the event raise more than £150k on the night.

Spotted on the white carpet were singer Sharleen Spiteri, comedian Rob Brydon and supermodel Yasmin Le Bon, the wife of Duran Duran’s lead singer Simon Le Bon, whose band performed songs from their new album All You Need Is Now.

The servicemen’s expedition – a trek of 200 nautical miles – will start at the end of March, and the group hopes to reach the Geographic North Pole on 21 April.

They also hope the charity’s patron HRH Prince Harry will be able to come along for the frozen ride – although The Capitalist hears this plan is subject to “Royal commitments pending”. Watch this space.

THREE PIECE SUIT
THERE are brand ambassadors, and then there is Simon Wolfson, chief executive of Next, who proved he is in touch with his customers by wearing one of the retailer’s three-piece suits to address a Westminster conference last week.

Never mind his brief of explaining how to grow the economy, Wolfson opened his speech by proclaiming that the waistcoat is back in fashion, even telling the rapt crowd that they can buy his outfit for themselves at Next for less than £300.

On-brand and on-message – perhaps his rival Topman, still tainted by the time its brand director David Shepherd remarked the shop’s suits are for “hooligans”, could take note.

LLOYDS’ LOSS
COULD there be a clash of personalities at Lloyds Banking Group? The Capitalist only asks because the bank’s group communications director, Brigitte Trafford, has decided to seek pastures new after less than a year in the role.

Trafford’s parting statement before her exit later this month maintained she enjoyed her short time at Lloyds “enormously”, but “as the Group enters its next phase with a new chief executive, I decided this is the right time for me to move on”. The Capitalist is sure the bank’s new CEO Antonio Horta-Osorio isn’t taking it personally.

VISIBLE INK
RED faces at the Mail on Sunday yesterday, after a printing error in the first edition of the newspaper left Lord Mandelson’s private telephone numbers exposed to the world.

The confidential numbers for the business secretary were listed in an illustration (pictured below in a redacted version) for a feature on disgraced US financier Jeffrey Epstein, with the Mail on Sunday’s picture caption stressing “we have blanked out the numbers to protect [Mandelson’s] privacy”.

Except, owing to some not-quite invisible ink, the numbers were clearly discernible, and Mandelson’s home, Westminster and country house phones were no doubt ringing off the hook until a swift phonecall to BT put an end to the fun.

“This number has not been been recognised,” came the reply when The Capitalist called Peter’s direct office line yesterday – looks like Mail on Sunday editor Peter Wright will have to make his amends in person.

VIEW FROM THE TOP
HATS off to Alice Goddard, vice president of the Frequent Borrower Group/Royal Bank of Scotland, who has been named as one of Red magazine’s “most influential women of the future” at the age of just 26.

The honour is part of the magazine’s “20 under 30” list in its April issue, on sale now, and Alice has been named alongside The X Factor winner Alexandra Burke and Olympic sprinter Christine Ohurougu as “The Financial High-Flyer”.

Her boss Rebecca Manuel – herself no shrinking violet as global head of loan syndicate at RBS – said: “Alice possesses a winning combination of drive, intelligence, strong interpersonal skills and the desire to succeed.”

Note to City headhunters: Alice is taking some well-earned leave, so time your calls for her return.