THE SIXTH annual Vale do Lobo Grand Champions tennis tournament culminated with a party in commemoration of Vale do Lobo’s 45 years of existence. The Sapphire Anniversary Party also marked 30 years in Portugal for the resort’s chairman, Sander van Gelder.
The first part of the Sapphire anniversary celebrations started on Saturday morning, on the Royal and Ocean courses, with a golf tournament which saw over 200 participants take to the fairways. Among the golfers was Portugal’s goal-keeper Ricardo Pereira, who seemed absolutely at ease on the golf course, taking an impressive third place in the competition.
Later in the evening, the party moved to the gardens of Parque do Golfe for the anticipated Sapphire Anniversary Party, where hosts Sander and Hedy van Gelder greeted over 1,200 guests. The highlight of the evening was a fashion show by Dutch haute couture designer, Mart Visser.
A prize giving for the golf tournament took place before American disco soul act The Trammps started a set which had the whole party stepping back in time and dancing to the sounds of Saturday Night Fever.
Many famous faces could be spotted at the party, including numerous well-known Portuguese socialites such as Betty Graftstein and her husband José Castelo Branco, Lili Caneças and Paula Bobone. The hosts also welcomed many dignitaries from the worlds of politics, art and sports, including the mayor of Loulé Dr. Seruca Emídio, Dr. José Miguel Júdice, Eng. Manuel Agrellos (President of the Portuguese Golf Federation) and ex-Secretaries of State Dr. Vitor Cabrita Neto, Eng. Luís Correia da Silva and Eng. José Carlos Gonçalves Viana.
Also in attendance, of course, were the tennis players who had played in the sixth annual Vale do Lobo Grand Champions tennis tournament in the week that preceded the party, including tournament winner Marcelo Rios, Pat Cash, Thomas Muster, Carl Uwe-Steeb, Paul Haarhuis, Nuno Marques and João Cunha e Silva.