Lunch with an Old Bag Committee
Our dedicated and enthusiastic Lunch with an Old Bag Committee consists of some of Scotland's most influential ladies (and a few brave men) who volunteer their time, energy, connections and commitment to ensuring each Lunch with an Old Bag event is a vibrant and sparkling occasion, enjoyed by all, and successful in its mission to raise vital funds to assist a growing number of young people through The Prince's Trust Scotland.
Our wonderful Committee members extend invitations to a growing network of generous 'Old Bags' who offer to serve as Table Hosts, and in turn gather together fun, spirited and generous guests equally committed to supporting the aims of The Trust in Scotland.
The Committee must also be thanked for the tremendous array of money can't buy Main and Silent Auction Prizes they bring to the event, as well as goody bag items and the highly coveted Raffle Ring!
In just nine years, and with special thanks to founding members James Thomson of Prestonfield and Geraldine Gammell, former Director of The Prince's Trust Scotland, Lunch with an Old Bag has become the hottest lunch ticket in town, and one of the biggest fundraising events for The Prince's Trust in the UK, raising more than £3,709,537.00 to date. Under the leadership of Fiona Donaldson, the LWOB 2018 Committee has continued to flourish, and hopes this will be the most memorable and successful LWOB yet!
You can learn more about our Committee members below:
Fiona Donaldson - Chair
Fiona has been a volunteer with The Prince's Trust since 2011, is a member of The Prince's Trust Scotland Advisory Council and has Chaired LWOB since 2013. She is a specialist tax partner with Springfords Accountants, and confesses to a handbag habit which is second only to her shoe habit!
Fiona says "Chairing LWOB is a challenge, but great fun, as part of an awesome team! Over the past nine years, I've learned a lot about The Prince's Trust and how it helps young people. I've also met a number of young people helped by the Trust, and have seen first-hand what a huge difference the money we raise at LWOB makes.
Every £1,000 we raise allows the trust to turn around, and often effectively save, a young life. Bearing in mind that we raised over £725k last year (that's over 725 young lives!), I feel immensely proud and privileged to be part of LWOB and what we've achieved to date.
I hope that this year we can repeat the success of previous years, and with the fantastic support we have from our wonderful Table Hosts and incredibly generous supporters, this year we celebrate our 10th anniversary I'm optimistic that LWOB 2018 will be our best yet, as we celebrate our 10th anniversary!"
James Thomson OBE
James owns some of Scotland's most distinctive hospitality businesses including Prestonfield, The Witchery by the Castle and Edinburgh's Tower Restaurant, employing over 250 staff across his properties. An active ambassador for the Scottish Tourism Industry, James was awarded a Silver Thistle from the First Minister and an OBE for services to Hospitality and the Scottish Tourism Industry.
Recently UK Restaurateur of the Year, James is involved in a range of industry and educational bodies including the British Hospitality Association, the Board of the National Restaurant Association and is a Founder Patron of the Springboard Charity. He is an enthusiastic Governor of George Heriot's Trust, his former school, and a Trustee of Prostate Scotland.
James is a Platinum Patron of The Prince's Trust; a member of The Prince's Trust Scotland Advisory Council and supports the Get into Hospitality programme, providing work placements for young people in his restaurants and hotels.
When initiating the first Lunch with an Old Bag event in 2009 it was to raise funds and challenge labels unfairly attached to old and young. Hosting the costs for the invitation-only event at Prestonfield has enabled the Lunch with an Old Bag to generate over £2.9 million for the Trust in Scotland so far, with a sensational £725,000 raised in 2017.
He has introduced a fundraising initiative "£1 on the Bill", encouraging his guests to make a £1 donation to The Prince's Trust when dining. The scheme has raised a six-figure sum and continues to support The Trust's work.
I have been helping with LWOB from the very first event and enjoy every minute! Any charity that helps with young people is close to my heart! My own children have enjoyed a very privileged start in life (they may dispute that!) and anything that can be done to give a chance to even one young person, is, in my opinion, incredibly valuable!
I am also a trustee with a charity, Cherishindia along with three others. We have built an orphanage in Kancheepuram, Southern India. It is currently home to 150 children, allowing them to live in a safe and happy environment. We are now involved in the building of a school within the grounds.
If I'm not at the gym, pilates or running you'll probably find me wandering Harvey Nichols, my favourite haunt!
Jill has been a volunteer with The Prince's Trust since 2012. She owns her own hospitality company working with various hotels and restaurants throughout the UK and works with the team at LWOB mainly with the Silent Auction prizes.
Jill says "being part of the LWOB team is fantastic, we always have great fun at our committee meetings, and even more fun on the big day! Since being involved with LWOB, I have learned a lot about The Prince's Trust and how it helps young people, and I am continually amazed and in awe of the achievements these young people can make to their lives. Their challenging backgrounds, and how their sheer determination and an inner strength takes them to the next level - I'm often in tears listening to their stories".
Last year's LWOB raised £725,000 (another tearful occasion!) and it would be truly amazing if we were able to raise a similar amount again at LWOB 2018. It's a privilege being part of such a wonderful team and being able to contribute in some small way to helping those children in Scotland who aren't are lucky as many of our children.
Penny is a senior partner of St James’s Place Wealth Management, running her own successful advisory practice (PW & Partners). She is passionate about finance and specifically about planning for Later Life. She recently set up and now Chairs The Edinburgh Care Forum (a group focused on sharing best practice in the Later Life space).
She sits on the committee of the St James's Place Foundation, a grant-making charity concentrating on making a difference for children and young people. She enjoys the fun involved in helping others and once she gets her teeth into something will give it all of her energy.
Filled with huge amounts of spirit and enthusiasm, she enjoys getting her sleeves rolled up and being part of a team with a goal. She is delighted to be part of the LWOB committee and is excited about working on LWOB 2018.
Lesser known facts about Penny include her love of music, fashion and any form of exercise. She also, on VERY special occasions, does brilliant ET and David Bellamy impersonations.
Debjani has been a volunteer mentor for The Prince's Trust since 2010, providing business mentoring to young people going through the Trust's programmes. She joined the Old Bag committee in 2014 and is delighted to help with such a good cause. She said "My two daughters are growing up in a loving and supportive home and they have this without question. There are too many young people who miss out on this and a few hours a month is nothing out of my diary but is hugely meaningful for a young person who has turned to the Prince's Trust for help."
She has been working as a wealth manager at UBS Wealth Management since 2005 and when she's not working she can be found around Edinburgh with her two young daughters in tow.
Debjani openly admits she has a handbag and shoe "problem".
Ailsa is a Director with FWB Park Brown, Scotland’s leading Executive Recruitment business, which advises and supports its clients with the identification and recruitment of Board level (Non-Executive and Executive) and Senior Management talent. She has been with FWB Park Brown for the last 8 years, working closely with Scotland’s leading businesses across all sectors.
In her spare time, as well as running around after 2 teenage daughters, she has spent 7 years as a Member of the Children’s panel for Edinburgh, helping to make vital decisions about vulnerable children and young people who are in need of care or who have offended. In this role, she worked closely with The Prince’s Trust and used their resources to help some of these children progress their lives in a positive way.
Having attended all but one LWOB as a table host and feeling a strong urge to support the event, Ailsa joined the Committee in 2016 and is absolutely delighted to be working as part of the team on the amazing 2018 event!
Doreen joined the LWOB team in 2017.
She worked many years as a European Human Resources Director for a large global life sciences organisation. She is currently a Governor of the University of Edinburgh and is involved in a number of key committees. She also participates in a number of boards and committees such as Developing the Young Workforce (Edinburgh and the Lothians), the Scottish Life Sciences Association and a Government Skills Committee. She is also an investor member of Archangels Investment Limited whose members invest in and offer mentoring to start up and early stage companie.
Doreen says 'It has been tremendous fun being part of the LWOB team and seeing their overwhelming commitment to The Prince's Trust. I was motivated to become involved with the Committee after attending the event for a number of years. LWOB is a great occasion where participants not only have the chance to have a fabulous day out but also to have the opportunity to give generously to a wonderful cause. The amount raised over the last 9 years has been staggering and has allowed the Trust to do so much for deserving young people in Scotland'.
Doreen is excited to be part of the 2018 team which she hopes can raise another fantastic amount for the Trust.