• Written by Olivia Auckland
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Bafta-winning actress Vicky McClure spent a night down the pub to raise money for charity. A crowd of over 200 joined together for a relaxed and uplifting evening with the Notts lass herself.

The evening kicked off with a Q&A led by BBC Radio Nottingham’s Mark Dennison, followed by a meet and greet with Vicky, and was topped off with a raffle draw and auction. Prizes included a signed Notts County football, memberships to Portland Leisure Centre, a meal for two voucher at the Embankment, and of course some beery goodies.

The big prize, an original This is England poster signed by Vicky and director Shane Meadows, went for an incredible £950. Vicky had been gifted the poster aged 21, when she starred in the film, and has held onto it since. Before the evening began, she told us on the sly that she’d be happy if it raised a ‘few hundred quid’. Suffice to say, she was pretty chuffed with the final bid…

Tickets to the event were free, to ensure the evening was accessible to everyone, and drinks bought over the bar were served with a raffle ticket. Plus, we donated 20p for every pint of the beer sold. The money raised from the event is to be split equally between two amazing charities: Notts County’s Football in the Community and Our Dementia Choir. (The total is still being totted up as we write this, so watch this space for the final figure raised.)

Vicky is a lifelong fan of Notts County and is a huge advocate for Football in the Community: ‘How can you not champion everything that they do?’ She said to the crowd. ‘They work with so many people who are going through such difficult times, for so many different reasons. I’m a football fan because I love the community that it brings to people’s lives. It’s grassroots. It brings people together.’

The BBC’s Our Dementia Choir, which aired in May this year, placed Vicky McClure firmly in the nation’s consciousness as a campaigner for dementia. Her beloved grandmother “Nanar” suffered with dementia, and was calmed and comforted by music. Talking about the show, Vicky said she feels like it ‘made some movement’ for dementia sufferers and their loved ones. ‘Most of the time you feel like you show up to raise some awareness for a couple of hours, and then you go and it’s over,’ she explained.

A member of the audience asked Vicky what she would “be” if she wasn’t an actress. It came as no surprise that her answer was rooted in community. ‘I would love to work with people. It feels real. I think I’ve got to that age now where it feels important.’

Vicky’s gratitude – for her success, for her family and friends, for the support of the crowd (and country) – is palpable. She’s a humble, normal woman whose career happens to put her in the public eye. ‘Things can change so quickly in this industry – at the drop of a pin. Which is why, when someone offers to make me a beer, I take it,’ she laughed.

Thank you so much to everybody who came down to support the event, to those who bought the beer and donated raffle prizes, and to those who bid in the auction. A special thanks goes to Aiden (centre), who bid an incredible £950 for Vicky’s original This is England poster.

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