Macdonald Hotels Ltd, one of the UK's largest independent hotel groups, is this year celebrating 25 years of business. To commemorate the silver anniversary, Macdonald Burlington Hotel, Birmingham has hosted a charity 'Dinner in the Dark' to give back to the community it serves.

The event held last month, 24 November, is one of several events, from black tie dinners to afternoon teas, being held across Britain at key Macdonald Hotels to mark the anniversary celebration. Each hotel will give 50 per cent of profits raised to the Muir Maxwell Trust; a charity providing practical support to children with epilepsy, and the other 50 per cent will go to their local charity. The team at Macdonald Burlington Hotel have chosen Queen Alexandra College (QAC) a Birmingham-based charity which supports people with disabilities, including vision impairment, helping them realise their potential to work and live independently.

This year's Dinner in the Dark event raised nearly £2,000. Among the 65 attendees were QAC students, The Albion Foundation as well as a few special guests, each were able to experience what life is like with a visual impairment. During the champagne reception the house lights were dimmed and guests acclimatised to the dark before being blind-folded and led to their table. Diners enjoyed a surprise two course menu, with their only choice being 'chicken' or 'vegetarian'.

One of the event supporters was well-known West Bromwich man Dave Heeley who attended Queen Alexandra College and who is also the first blind person in the world to have completed the ultimate endurance challenge of seven marathons in seven days on seven continents. The father of three nicknamed 'Blind Dave' lost his sight at the age of 17 and used his experience and determination to motivate and inspire others.

Macdonald Burlington - Dinner in the Dark 2.jpg

Dave said: "Eating is something so many people take for granted as an easy, daily routine and this event put that to the test. Guests were able to experience what it's like not being able to see what you're eating and what it feels like to have a vision impairment, even if just for a short time. For people who know me, or anyone else with a vision impairment, it is a valuable experience and is also great fun!"

Macdonald Burlington General Manager James Bee said: "We're incredibly proud to have been part of the celebrations recognising 25 years of Macdonald Hotels, while raising vital funds for Muir Maxwell Trust and QAC.

"Dave is a close friend of the hotel and we are proud to be supporting the work that Dave and QAC do for those with disabilities in Birmingham and across the UK again this year.

Established in 1990 by Donald Macdonald and colleagues, over the past 25 years Macdonald Hotels & Resorts has successfully expanded from its beginnings with one hotel in Aberdeenshire to become the UK's largest privately-owned hotel group. Today, the Group  welcomes more than one million guests annually to over 4,500 hotel rooms throughout the UK, Ireland, Portugal and Spain, and employs more than 4,000 staff.  In December 2015, The Group announced its annual turnover as £155.7m, a long way from its humble beginnings 25 years ago.

Macdonald Hotels & Resorts celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and operates over 40 hotels across the UK and ten resorts in both the UK and Spain