Tuesday 17 September 2013 9:00 pm

Blair is surprise of the night at charity dinner

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TO VILLANDRY on Great Portland Street, to hear about Great Ormond Street Hospital’s £85m appeal for a children’s rare disease research centre, where former PM Tony Blair was the unannounced guest speaker. Over dinner Blair recalled how, even for him, being an unannounced speaker has its pitfalls. The politician recalled an occasion when in office he was scheduled to speak at a girls’ school: “All the girls knew was that the speaker’s surname began with a B and I could hear the groans of disappointment when I turned up. I think they were expecting David Beckham.” Blair, who was invited by Finsbury founder Roland Rudd, said he is passionate about helping the hospital in its aim of furthering medical research and the guests were treated to an inspirational film about the appeal from Adam & Eve DDB, the creators of the John Lewis adverts. Blair said there was an explosion of possibilities in medical research. Appeal chairman (and G4S chair) John Connolly followed Blair and implored the assembled guests to lend their support for the centre, due to open in 2017.