The 72nd Monegasque Red Cross Gala took place in a fresh new environment with a special outdoor concert by Jamie Cullum. Prince Albert II and the Princess of Hanover used the Principality’s current health restrictions to their advantage and brought the Monegasque Red Cross Gala out of its traditional venue, the Sporting d’été, and into the open air of the Place du Casino.
The Gala was cancelled last year due to the pandemic, but was able to go ahead this year in spite of restrictions. Five hundred people enjoyed the open-air show, which marked the start of a new era for this charity gala, one of the Principality’s most iconic events.
Prince Albert II and Princess Caroline were accompanied by Andrea and Pierre Casiraghi, Charlotte Casiraghi-Rassam, Gareth Wittstock and Tatiana Santo Domingo. The extended royal family all gathered for a cocktail dinner at the Café de Paris before heading to the Place du Casino to mingle with the other guests who came out in support of the Monegasque Red Cross.
The Gala was the first big event on the new Place du Casino, which was only inaugurated a year ago by Prince Albert II and his family. Celine Dion’s concert was supposed to be the first major event, but was cancelled on 18 July, so British pianist and singer Jamie Cullum inaugurated the wonderful open-air stage instead. The English singer delivered a brilliant performance for the first summer concert in support the Red Cross.
Other big personalities were in attendance, including Minister of State Pierre Dartout, President of the National Council Stéphane Valeri, Deputy Chairman of the SBM Jean-Luc Biamonti, and the Secretary General of the Red Cross Frédéric Platini. Fifty Red Cross volunteers (out of a total of five hundred) were also invited to the celebration.
Hundreds of Jenk sculptures given to Gala guests
Internationally renowned artist, Laurence Jenk, created 501 sculptures for the gala, including a monumental work almost two metres tall. Named "Wrapping Candy Mask" the unique piece was created by transforming every day materials into a work of art. The sculpture, which was displayed on a 75 cm high pedestal, was accompanied by 500 mini “Wrapping Candy Mask Collector” sculptures, all of which were handed out to guests during the evening. Each small sculpture was made from real masks, meticulously shaped one by one by hand by the artist. The sculptures, numbered from 1 to 500, are unique and each one is signed ‘JENK 2021’.
Two millions euros added to Red Cross Budget
After one gala and two fundraisers were cancelled due to COVID-19, the Monegasque Red Cross needed a win. According to Frédéric Platini, secretary general of the Monegasque Red Cross, the financial losses were compensated by donors, even though the budget was two million dollars higher than previous years.
Requests for help have increased by 30% for Monaco’s Red Cross, mostly due to the pandemic. The Monegasque Red Cross helps pay rents, bills, distribute food stamps, works in call centres and undertakes home monitoring programs for people in quarantine with COVID-19. At the PCR testing and vaccination centres, Red Cross volunteers were mobilized to help the State. Social support now continues, with academic support for young people and with childcare services by young students from Monaco to help parents and guardians in neighbouring towns.