Charity Night

gets a makeover

Text Laurent Grabet / Photo Alpimages / Thomas Roulin
Date of publication Winter 2019-2020

Now in its 13th year, this essential end-of-season charity evening will next be held in Savoleyres on 3 April. We take a look at a celebrity-oriented event that is in the process of reinventing itself.

While it might be unlucky for some, 13 is a number bringing lots of good fortune to Charity Night. The famous Bagnes-based event will take place for the 13th time on Friday 3 April and will have a whole new look for the occasion. Gaining in altitude, it will decamp from the Espace Saint-Marc in Le Châble and set up in Verbier, with the Savoleyres Restaurant the most likely venue.

“The essential ingredients should stay the same: friendly tables organised around sports stars, good food, good humour and, above all, the desire to help out children in need. We are breathing new life into it, though,” says Éric-A. Balet, the CEO of Téléverbier and co-founder of the event. Balet is passing the baton on to a new committee that will now oversee this major end-of-season social gathering, which is expected to bring together nearly 200 people. The event will no longer be connected to the Verbier High Five and will be brought forward to the weekend before the Swiss Ski Championships, another late-season highlight, which will take place on Easter Saturday, 11 April.

The proceeds from Verbier Charity Night will go mainly to the Swiss branch of the Right to Play organisation. Over the years more than CHF 500,000 has been raised in support of it, and the money has been used by Right to Play International to fund various projects in some of the world’s poorest countries. The aim of these projects is to harness sport and, to a lesser extent, music to help disadvantaged children get back on their feet, make friends and build their lives.

Away from Charity Night, Balet joined up with some of his friends four years ago to launch Right to Play Friends, a charity with around 50 members, who each make a monthly contribution of CHF 50 to directly fund an educational project in Burundi. A total of 32,000 children have directly benefitted from the venture. Over the years, many leading sports stars and celebrities have graced Charity Night with their presence, among them Bernhard Russi, Thomas Lüthi, Dario Cologna, Alberto Tomba, Pascal Richard, Tina Maze, Laurence Rochat, Didier Cuche, Estelle Balet, James Blunt, Bastian Baker and Kacey Mottet-Klein.