TV stars leave charity ball organisers upset

PUBLISHED: 16:02 21 November 2014 | UPDATED: 16:02 21 November 2014

Niki Cunningham with Spencer Matthews and Jamie Laing from Made in Chelsea. Picture by Sarah Bradley.

Niki Cunningham with Spencer Matthews and Jamie Laing from Made in Chelsea. Picture by Sarah Bradley.


McVitie's biscuit heir Jamie Laing and his Made in Chelsea TV sidekick Spencer Matthews left charity ball organisers feeling bitterly disappointed this week.

The Exmouth-based Harry Cunningham Trust paid £4,000 to book the reality TV stars to attend the annual Harry’s Ball, but organiser Niki Cunningham this week claimed they spent less than an hour at Saturday’s event.

She alleged that the celebrity pair spent longer on the train travelling to and from London than at the ball, which raises money for research into a rare child illness

Niki, founder of the charity, alleged the pair arrived late for the ball at Exeter Chiefs’ ground and spent only 30 minutes talking to guests.

She told the Journal the pair said they would be filming the next day and alleged they left after less than 60 minutes at the venue.

She now feels the millionaire playboys took advantage of the charity.

Niki says she was stunned to see Jamie Laing appear in photographs in the national press, apparently leaving a London nightclub later that night.

Mum-of-two Niki said: “They spent about 30 minutes with our guests and then came to me and said they’d need to get the last train home, which was in an hour, as they had filming in the morning.

“They said they’d need to leave in about 20 minutes, which was half way through my presentation - so rude.

“The transport and the hotels we booked for them went unused.

“They had literally taken the money from us and gone. They didn’t care about us as a charity, or what we were doing.

“We paid £4,000 of our hard-earned money and feel a bit like we’ve been taken advantage of.”

Niki claimed: “Originally, they’d agreed to come for the press pictures and then the meet and greet, and if they could manage it, they would stay for the whole evening.

“It was confirmed they would stay for the whole evening and we booked them hotels and paid for them, and also transport to and from the venue.

“They were sent their itinerary for the evening on the Monday so they knew what to expect.

Niki also alleged: “On the Saturday afternoon, I was informed they wouldn’t be checking into the hotel before ball, they’d be going straight to venue from the train. They’d been asked to get there for six o’clock. Their train got in at 6.15pm to Exeter, so they were very late.”

Guest Lee Cameron, 40, of York Close, Exmouth, said: “They were late arriving. All the other celebrities were already there.

“We sat down for the meal and I saw them go over to Niki’s table, which was next to us.

“They went to the table, they didn’t even sit down, then they left.

“I would say they were there an hour, tops. It was absolutely disgusting.”

The Made in Chelsea stars were part of a celebrity line-up paid to attend the Harry Cunningham Trust’s ball to raise awareness of vasa praevia. Niki’s son, Harry, died in 2012 from the undiagnosed condition, just 26 hours after birth.

Despite repeated request for comments, at the time of going to press, the stars’ booking agent David Meylan, of FridayFlava, had not responded.

Jamie Laing’s agent and Spencer Matthews’ management also did not respond to requests made by the Journal.

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