ONE of the UK’s top sporting stadia joined forces with the military for a glittering ‘Mess’ Dinner in support of the Royal British Legion.

Around 350 guests attended the event at Newcastle United’s St James’ Park this month (2 March) raising more than £5000 for the charity, which provides lifelong support for the Armed Forces community’s serving men and women, veterans and their families.

The dinner, which was supported by the Ministry of Defence, was the brainchild of the stadium’s catering partner Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events.

And chefs created a four-course meal – announced by a trumpeter in traditional MESS format – which started with leek and potato broth and cheese dumpling with an assortment of breads.

This was followed by butter roasted breast of chicken stuffed with spinach and cheese and served with fondant potato, roasted root vegetables, buttered cabbage and a sage cream sauce, with chocolate and ginger crème brûlée for pudding.

Diners then enjoyed local and continental cheese and biscuits before raising a glass of port for the Loyal Toast to HM The Queen and singing the National Anthem.

Among the guests were serving members of the Fifth Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers in full dress uniform and the guest speaker was former 42 Commando Royal Marines Medic and face of The British Legion Poppy Appeal, Cassidy Little, who lost his leg in an IED blast in Afghanistan in 2011.

After leaving the army Cassidy took the lead role in the first highly successful UK tour of The Two Worlds of Charlie F, working with Sir Trevor Nunn and Ray Winstone on the Bravo 22 play about soldiers’ experiences after injury, with a cast of real military personnel.

Guests were officially welcomed by Lieutenant General Robin Brims CB CBE DSO DL with performances throughout the evening from the Band of the Royal Armoured Corps.

 “We were delighted to work with the Royal British Legion to hold this first-of-its-kind event at St James’ Park,” said Samantha Doyle, sale and marketing manager for Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events at the stadium.     

“The North East has long and proud links with the services, which pulled out all the stops to put on a glittering and impressive event. We’ve received some superb feedback from guests and everyone who was there will remember the evening for a very long time to come.”                                    

For more information, contact St James’s Park on 0191 201 8525 or e-mail candb@nufc.co.uk.