Rela8 Group supporting Childline

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Rela8 Group are delighted to have contributed towards White Hat’s Unforgettable Day campaign, which raised £70,000 for NSPCC Childline.

White Hat’s Unforgettable Day campaign raised an incredible £70,000, enough to fund Childline for over two days, taking the overall money raised for charity to over £2m since it’s foundation 17 years ago.

With the success of the campaign driven by many information security and risk professionals, White Hat Events managed to sit down with one of its sponsors, Paul Gibson, CEO & Founder of Rela8 Group, to understand why this charity is so close to his and his business’ heart.  

Question: Who are Rela8 Group? 

Rela8 Group is an industry leading events and business community that brings together CISOs, CIOs, CTOs and technology leaders to identify challenges, connect with key innovators and engage with one another to understand where their industry is going next. 

Question: Why help support NSPCC Childline?

When we heard about White Hat’s fundraising campaign for NSPCC Childline, it was a charity and event that we immediately felt compelled to sponsor. As a father of three myself and a family run business that has many staff with young families, children are incredibly close to all our hearts. 

Children are innocent victims of social circumstances and no child deserves lesser opportunities than any other. A charity such as the NSPCC that supports children; physically, mentally, and financially is one that is extremely important for Rela8 Group and one that we are looking forward to actively fundraising for going forward.

Question: Corporate Social Responsibility is key to the Rela8 Group DNA. How do you integrate CSR into the business and what more can companies do?

For many companies CSR seems to be an afterthought, but for us it is a pillar in our structure. We believe that it is vitally important to have a clear vision of what you are trying to impact in society and if aligned with your businesses core values, you can go a little way to impact things for the better. 

One initiative we started is our ‘Delegate Donation Campaign’. When our delegates sign up to our virtual roundtables, they are given the option of a £15/ $20 lunch voucher, or the opportunity to donate the same value to the NSPCC or another charity we support, Fosse Way School (a local school for underprivileged children). In 2020 alone, this generated £6,000 towards our chosen charities and with the exponential growth our business is experiencing, we estimate this contribution will grow to £10,000 by the end of 2021.

Another stream of content that we really look to push via our community is supporting and facilitating the next generation of business leaders, ensuring that every child has equal opportunities regardless of background in our sector.

Question: The last year has been a difficult year for many, what are you most looking forward to in 2021 and beyond?

As a business we can’t wait to meet with our community again in person (when it is safe to do so) and to continue to push for positive change together.

We are proud to be Patrons of this fantastic initiative through our events, summits, roundtables, and Technology Leaders Club, and we look forward to sharing the work of White Hat Events with our community to grow further awareness. We already have the White Hat Events 2022 charity ball in aid of the NSPCC penned into our diary and can’t wait to meet with the industry again, share a glass of wine and raise lots of money for this incredible cause!

For more information about Rela8 Group and the Technology Leaders Club visit / 

Thank you from the White Hat Chair

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Judging by large numbers of people reaching out to offer their thanks for the White Hat Unforgettable day, and of course the level of attendance in the evening. The cyber and risk community showed force to ensure vulnerable people in our society are not forgotten, despite the difficulties of our current society with COVID.

The community enjoyed an event which was made possible and powered by our generous headline sponsor, KPMG, supported by other sponsors Ezkenzi PR, Qualys, ISACA, Bridewell Consulting, and Rela8 Group.

Our evening was hosted by Graham Cole OBE, who did a masterful job as expected from a seasoned actor. Graham was supported by our very own ‘Cyber Clive’ aka Clive Room, who despite losing his trousers before the silent auction, somehow managed to recompose himself and facilitate a panel discussion with Chris Harper and Charlie Webster. Chris and Charlie, aided by Cyber Clive, recalled their powerful journeys of speaking out on child abuse, on television through Chris, and from personal experience by Charlie.

These stories were echoed in a powerful and very heart felt personal recollection by Nicole, our speaker, who managed her child abuse situation with grace and humility despite having to rebuild her life without the support from some members of her family.

The virtual room was moved by Nicole’s story.

Childline supports vulnerable people through the dedicated councillors working at Childline. To recognise and signal the importance and vital nature of the work performed by these amazing people, Dame Esther Rantzen presented an award the winner of the Childline counsellor award to Charlie Burton. Charlie not only works at Childline but also has a full-time job teaching year 5 students at a local school.

We must also mention some other people, Lilly O’Brien and Robyn Stevenson from NSPCC, who did a sterling job ushering White Hat Committee members through weekly calls, Molly and Imogen from Tap Simple, the amazing streaming platform, and our video editor Liz Hudson. I suspect Liz enjoyed the antics of Cyber Clive during the editing process.

Stephen Khan, White Hat Committee Chair

The committee and I are wholeheartedly grateful and touched will how the Cyber and Risk community rallied behind such an amazing cause during a time when many organisations are facing their own challenges. Examples of support include the amazing awareness campaigns driven by Infosec Europe, RANT, ISACA and Barclay Simpson to name a few, there were many others.

I personally hope many of you will join us at the January 2022 White Hat Ball, and thank you all once again for your generosity and kindness. 

The White Hat auction 2021 is LIVE!

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White Hat’s Unforgettable Day is a campaign that aims to raise £30,000, enough to fund Childline for one full day: the 29th January, when the original ball would have taken place. Join our campaign and support children by bidding on the exciting White Hat Silent Auction!

With over 40 fantastic prizes to choose from, treat yourself or a loved one to something special and bring some joy to their day. We have something for everyone, from Spanish villa holidays, rural staycations, exclusive dining experiences and designer accessories.

Some of our favourite prizes include:

All proceeds go to the White Hat One Unforgettable Day campaign to fund Childline for a whole day, helping the NSPCC to make 2021 a better year for children.

If you haven’t yet purchased tickets, we’d love you to join us at the first ever online White Hat on Friday 29th January! This event will bring together the Information Security sector, concluding in an hour of celebration and entertainment on 29th January from 7:30pm-8:30pm, for what would have been the sixteenth White Hat Ball. 

If you have any questions about the silent auction or the event please contact Robyn at

Childline at Christmas

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For many children and young people, Christmas is not a time of festivity and merriment, but a time where they are greater risk of abuse and neglect. Find out how you can make a difference this Christmas.

The facts

According to UK-wide police data, there were 23,529 concerns of adults neglecting, mistreating or assaulting children recorded in 2019/20 – an increase of 53% compared to 2016/17, and more than double the total in 2013/14.

Out of these, 5,476 were recorded in the first three months of the spring lockdown with increased vulnerability, challenges of safeguarding remotely and wider pressures on families playing a role. We know that during the spring lockdown, an average of 50 children a day turned to Childline after suffering abuse, with counselling sessions about this issue increasing by 22% compared with pre-lockdown levels.

We’re sharing these findings to warn that children may be at a risk of abuse this Christmas and that everyone needs to play their part in keeping them safe.

NSPCC CEO Peter Wanless said:

“The pandemic is the greatest challenge we’ve faced in decades and these figures are yet another example of its impact on vulnerable children. They also provide a heart-breaking picture of the concern about the number of young people who were exposed to pain and suffering following the start of the pandemic. 

This year it is even more essential that children have a place where they can seek help and support. Our Childline service will be running every day over the Christmas holidays, but we need the public’s support so we can ensure vulnerable children are heard.”

 How you can help children this Christmas

Purchase your ticket for the fun-filled White Hat Unforgettable Day virtual event taking place on 29th January 2021. All money raised will go towards funding Childline for a whole day.

If your company has saved money by not hosting a Christmas Party this year, why not make a donation to Childline instead? Donations can be made on our White Hat Just Giving page.

Qualys Blog: White Hat’s Unforgettable Day

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The White Hat Committee are delighted to once again welcome Qualys onboard as an official White Hat sponsor for 2021. Although this year has seen many changes to the usual Ball, Qualys has continued to stand by White Hat and Childline in our fight to be there for every child.

Qualys has supported White Hat for over a decade, and since 2013 has donated an incredible £50,000 to Childline, allowing us to answer 12,500 calls from children who desperately need our help. Much has changed since Qualys first began supporting the White Hat Ball; it has grown in size to almost 650 guests, now welcomes a huge numbers of industry leaders each year, has moved to the spectacular Royal Lancaster Hotel and has seen over 10 committee chairs come and go, each leaving their own unique stamp on the event.

We spoke to Anne Lenoir, Corp. Communications & Events Director, at Qualys, to find out what motivates them to continue sponsoring White Hat and Childline.

The White Hat Ball is an unmissable and spectacular industry event and we are proud to have supported, attended and sponsored it for over 10 years. The Ball has developed and changed, never more so than this year, but its message and reason remain the same ‘to have fun and raise money for a vital cause’! We are proud to sponsor this event and all of the incredible, life-changing work, that Childline does. This year has been particularly hard for children across the UK, with many of them trapped at home, lonely and isolated, and here at Qualys we are honoured to be able to do our bit in ensuring these children have a safe place to turn and someone to talk to. The NSPCC and Childline also do fantastic work for child online safety, a cause close to many of our hearts in this industry, and to have this opportunity to lead the sector is supporting this cause is a privilege.

As a team, we have many fond and fun memories of attending the White Hat Ball over the years and although this year will be slightly different, with a virtual White Hat event, we are excited for the industry to come together once again in the spirit of White Hat!

To find out more about Qualys, visit

White Hat’s Unforgettable Day

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After another successful White Hat Ball (WHB) in January of this year, there was much to celebrate, not only did the Cyber Security Industry leadership make a stance for the support of vulnerable children by raising £195,000 for NSPCC Childline but also demonstrated how our industry can come together to have fun in the process.

Sadly, that celebration was short lived as those same vulnerable children were/are stuck in homes, sometimes with their abusers as COVID took hold of our society.

The White Hat Ball committee, made up of senior leadership across our Cyber Security industry, were acutely aware of the impact from COVID on their own organisations, their teams, and society at large, including the possible difficulties on raising chartable funds for all good causes such as the White Hat Ball. The committee mobilised our efforts towards forward planning, working with our sponsors, NSPCC Childline, and our venue, The Royal Lancaster Hotel.  Despite the challenges the hospitality industry was facing, the Lancaster management were incredibly supportive of our situation, and worked with the WHB committee to ease any impact and to explore more options.

Throughout June, July and August, WHB supporters, sponsors, and committee continued with ticket sales and seeking prizes, knowing that the format & size of the 2021 WHB would be different, should the ball be possible. During this time, NSPCC, and WHB committee, like many businesses in the UK and across the global, produced contingency planning approaches, performed cost benefit analysis, and sought to ensure the safety of our guests & employees.

Despite the dedication to find the best option, with meetings running into the evenings, and good progress being made with sincere commitment from guests and our sponsors. On the 7th of October, after consultation with NSPCC leadership, The Royal Lancaster Hotel, the White Hat Ball committee made the decision to hold an alternative online event, accompanied by a fundraising campaign, and sadly not the traditional White Hat Ball, which is usually attended by over 650+ guests.

To maintain our support for vulnerable children in our society especially at this time, the White Hat Ball will be launching our “White Hat Unforgettable day” campaign that will begin in November, run throughout December and January and conclude in a very special virtual celebration evening on the 29th of January 2021.

White Hat’s Unforgettable Day is a campaign that aims to raise £30,000, enough to fund Childline for one full day, the 29th January, when the original ball would have taken place. This ambitious and exciting campaign will bring together the Information Security community, concluding in an evening of celebration and entertainment on 29th January, for what would have been the sixteenth White Hat Ball.

Join the White Hat Committee and industry leaders in supporting this unforgettable day of Childline, by donating what you can here. Additionally, we also want you to help us spread the message to our community at large, encouraging companies and individuals to participate in online events, share the news of the day, and send a robust message to those vulnerable children, that have not been forgotten through fundraising.

Stephen Khan, White Hat Committee Chairperson

Still Here for Children

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The NSPCC are still here for children- here’s how they’ve been adapting during the pandemic

1With schools closed for long periods and many children trapped in unsafe homes, lockdown has been particularly challenging for children. The NSPCC have responded rapidly, launching the Still Here for Children emergency appeal to raise awareness and funds for Childline, as well as adapting their frontline services to help as many children as possible during the pandemic. Thousands of children have reached out to Childline during the pandemic. The adaptions we’ve made to delivery mean that we haven’t seen a dip in our response rates, and have been able to hold around 60,000 counselling sessions since lockdown began.

However, we have seen a worrying change in the nature of concerns and the age of children we have supported – with over half of all conversations related to mental and emotional health, including more children under 11 contacting us on this subject.

A socially distanced Childline
CLFunds raised by the Still Here for Children campaign have been used to equip Childline volunteer counsellors to answer calls remotely by purchasing headsets and laptops, as well as recruiting new volunteers and re-training volunteers from other NSPCC frontline services.

One recent call to Childline from an 18-year-old girl highlights the importance of the service during the pandemic:

“I am scared about the Coronavirus. I’m finding it hard to cope at the moment and it feels like it’s the end of the world. When I was little I developed OCD and had been to therapy which has helped me to deal with the stress better. However, the Coronavirus has triggered it again and I’m really struggling, I don’t know what to do. Please help.”

Click here to listen to volunteer counsellor Rachel’s experience of answering urgent calls to Childline during lockdown.

Speak Out Stay Safe with Ant and Dec
a and dWith social distancing in place, the NSPCC’s Speak out Stay Safe programme of school assemblies has been on hold since March. As some schools begin to return, on Friday 5th June Ant and Dec and David Walliams helped to deliver a very special virtual school assembly with Buddy the mascot! The assembly was streamed online to schools across the country and encouraged children to Speak out and Stay Safe by speaking to a trusted adult or Childline about problems and anxieties they may be experiencing.

Get involved!
Support the NSPCC during the biggest challenge we have faced. Make a donation to the Still Here for Children campaign, or join us at our star studded White Hat Ball gala in January 2021.

Contact for more information.

White Hat Ball 2021 Covid-19 update

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Covid-19 update website image

Over the past few weeks, the NSPCC and White Hat Committee have been working closely with the Royal Lancaster Hotel to ensure that the 2021 White Hat Ball is in line with government social distancing advice and we are now able to share these plans with you.

Based on the Royal Lancaster’s and government advice we have now come to the decision to host tables of 5 at the event, rather than the traditional 10. This is to allow for the 1 metre rule between each guest to ensure that the White Hat Ball is compliant with current social distancing advice.

To reflect this change, our tables prices have now been altered to £1,075 for one Gold Table of 5 and £1,600 for one Platinum Table of 5 at the ball.

For more information on the White Hat Ball and how to book your table please contact

*if you have already reserved or booked your 2021 What Hat Ball table, you will have been contacted directly about this change.

White Hat Through the Years

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Ray and Esther #1Today we got the chance to speak to Ray Stanton, a founder member of the White Hat Committee, to speak about how White Hat has changed since being established in 2004, going from the very first ball to the unmissable industry event it has become today.

How and why you are involved in White Hat?

I currently sit on the steering committee and am one of the four original founders of the ball, along with Marcus Alldrick, Ron Condon and Malcolm Marshall.

I am involved because I believe in helping where help is needed. Childline and NSPCC is a cause where every donation makes a difference, be it cash, time or gift donations, it all changes lives. I think that’s the biggest learning for me during these past 16 years since we came up with the idea, every single thing counts towards making a difference to young lives.

What was the vision and where did the idea of White Hat come from?

The idea came about in 2004 after a couple of us had held industry dinners where we would raise funds for charity by auctioning off kindly donated gifts. The four of us I mentioned before, got together over a boozy lunch and came up with the idea ‘why not do this formally and as a group and see if we can make bit more of a difference’.

The vision was clear and has always remained consistent and while we’ve changed the words and messaging a little over the years, the core principles always remain the same ‘have fun, include everyone, make a difference’.

So, we reached out to friends within the security and risk community in 2005 and said ‘hey we have an idea’ would you like to join us and help us do this? From there we formed the first committee and it wasn’t until two or three years later we even had a formal chairperson. We took decisions such as when to hold the ball, and why it’s in January for example? Because it doesn’t clash with any other big events and as someone said at the time ‘it’s bleak in January and there’s nothing to look forward to, so this would be perfect, and it is!’. So, January 2006 was it! The inaugural ball. ball room 2009

Childline was separate back then from NSPCC and as a committee we pulled together a list of charities to vote on, finally deciding on Childline. Childline represented an area we all felt strongly about and today we still vote every three years and the feeling remains the same.

We do other small events and fundraising (e.g. London Marathon, Golf Days etc) during the year and donate to Barnardo’s and other smaller charities close to people’s lives. Though with time constraints given the ball has grown so large, taking up a lot of personal time and effort, these have reduced recently.

Throughout the years there has remained a core group on the committee, sustaining and growing the ball, and I for one cannot thank them enough for their commitment shown over the years. However, each year we are also delighted to welcome new faces onto the committee who bring with them new ideas and fresh thoughts, ensuring the future and success of the ball.

Tell us about the first ball and how it has transformed over the years – are there any stand-out moments that you remember from any of the balls in particular?

Goodness me, the first ball was a nightmare, we didn’t have any formal support, it was a bunch of do gooders all pulling together to create what we hoped would be a fantastic event. It was held at the Waldorf Hilton and we had circa 300+ guests (which we were so excited about back then and a target of £25k net profit for donating).

We printed our own material, people transported the gifts, champagne and materials in their cars, carried them on the tube or brought them by bus. So many of these things that others who run events will associate with it, that feeling of OMG ‘will it be alright on the night…and no it wasn’t!’ but we learned huge amounts from that first event and that’s ok.

One key memory was as we started the ball and introductions, stress was high for us all and Malcolm Marshall (one of the co-founders) and I were the joint hosts. We brought up and introduced Dame Esther Rantzen (who has been with us from this first event and every event since), handed her the microphone, and the system stopped working. Imagine this happening, a room filled with 300+ people, a wide room and no natural acoustics. The true professional, she carried on, we carried on and the night was a success and we raised £26k. Ray and Stephen

Notably it, and subsequent balls have pulled us together, created friendships that still remain strong today, and most importantly has enabled Childline to continuing answering calls from children who need them most.

Another key memory for me was holding meetings at Childline offices and once being given a tour of the call and message handling areas. Although you cannot listen into the calls, meeting these people, whom over 90% are volunteers and talking to them after, makes you realise why we do this. It was this that gave rise to us creating the ‘Volunteer Recognition Award’. I am not sure attendees or people realise this, but nominees are voted for by their colleagues, they are the ones who put forward these people in who in their view have gone the extra mile or deserve recognition. Bearing in mind, the people who nominate in my view, have already gone that extra mile with their volunteering. Their humility is sublime.

What are your hopes looking forward to 2021 and other future balls?

Quite simple really, to get through the Covid-19 crisis and ‘continue to make a difference, have fun and include everyone’. But practically, we need to continue to, at a minimum, maintain but aspirationally grow – which will be a challenge these next two years for sure. We have sister balls held annually in Washington and work with our co-conspirators the White Hat Rally to do more. We need new fresh faces on the committee, and we need to continue to make a difference ‘Protecting Children and changing their lives for the better’.


Join Ray at the 2021 White Hat Ball at the Royal Lancaster on 29th January. Email for more details.

Welcome to your new White Hat Chair

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Meet Stephen Khan, Head of Technology and Cyber Security Risk at HSBC, and our new Chair of the White Hat Ball.Headshot of Stephen Khan

We spoke to Stephen to find out why the White Hat Ball is an annual sell-out event for the Information and Cyber Security Industry.

The event, attended by over 650 guests including significant senior security figures, has become regarded as an exciting, social and unmissable evening in the industry’s calendar. Organised by a group of volunteers from the Cyber Security industry and now in its sixteenth year, the event has raised over two million pounds for the NSPCC’s vital service, Childline. That’s enough money to run Childline for nearly 1,600 hours.

Hi Stephen, how did you first get involved with the White Hat Ball and what does the event mean to you?

My journey with White Hat began back in 2009, with the White Hat Rally. I recall driving a car, from London to Italy, and of course back. The theme that year, our first rally, was ‘Italian job’ the film. All the participants were in fancy dress, and our cars were suitably decorated, it was great fun and we raised a significant amount for charity.

The White Hat Ball is amazing night for our industry and provides an opportunity for our industry to give back to the community to help and protect vulnerable young people at their time of need, when all they want is someone to care, listen, and given them a voice. White Hat is very dear me as the event provides a unique opportunity to help in keeping young people safe. In fact, NSPCC delivers 800 counselling sessions a day across 12 Childline bases, therefore making a contribution and reflecting what that means to a young person is a very powerful motivator and makes me proud to be part of the committee.

You have had a long and successful career in cyber security- how does the White Hat Ball support the industry and how has it helped you to build your networks?

To appreciate, and understand the White Hat Ball, it’s worth noting how it was formed. Sixteen years ago, a group of industry leaders, sat in a room and came up with the idea to be the first and only Cyber Security Charity event for the industry. The first event was particularly challenging to arrange as nobody knew how many people would take part, however, the message resonated across the industry with around 300 people in attendance. Now, the White Hat Ball has become the premier event to attend for networking, meeting industry friends, and merging people’s personal lives with their professional lives. In fact, my wife very much looks forward to event each year and has made new friends in the industry over the years attending the ball. Today, we sell out to the maximum capacity of the Royal Lancaster Hotel.

What inspired you to become Chair of the White Hat Ball, and what is your vision for the next two years?

Being a member of the White Hat committee is a real privilege. I get to work with a very experienced bunch of committee members who bring a wealth of talent to make the event and most importantly we have fun bring the ball together, with help of our industry.

The next couple of years will be challenging, the coronavirus crisis is making life tough for children. Many feel anxious without school, many are trapped in unsafe homes – and some are having suicidal thoughts and feelings. That’s why it’s vital the Childline service is still here for children, to give them somewhere to turn.

My vison is, increase awareness of the White Hat Ball and firmly establish the event as the premier event where our industry can come together and contribute to the protection of young people through NSPCC Childline, so I urge everyone to share our message through these times.

Tell us your favourite White Hat Ball memory!

The performance from Clive Room, our very own auctioneer, as he narrates the room into a joyful laughter through his unique style.

And finally, sum up the White Hat Ball in 5 words

Protecting children through industry relationships


White Hat Ballroom

Join Stephen at the White Hat Ball 2021 on 29th January at the Royal Lancaster Hotel for a champagne reception, sumptuous three-course dinner and live entertainment including a celebrity host. Attended by over 650 guests and now in its sixteenth year, to date the White Hat Ball has raised over £2 million pounds for the NSPCC’s vital service, Childline.

For many children, home isn’t a safe place to be, and during the pandemic Childline has seen a spike of calls from children in distress who have lost access to vital support networks such as school, friends and family members. Purchasing a White Hat Ball table will support Childline at its most challenging time to date.

Reserve your White Hat Ball 2021 table now by emailing

Thank you for your support.