Former Chief Angel Suzanne Sadler says goodbye to Hong Kong.
We will soon welcome the Year of the Tiger, a time to make big changes and seize opportunities when and where they may arise. I believe that Angels has always seized the day, a mantra that will continue through these turbulent times.
As this year sees the Water Tiger in ascendancy, it is destined to be an emotional time, which I am feeling personally this year as I step down from my role as Chief Angel. I have had the honour to hold this incredible position for the past 11 years but, as I have relocated to the UK with my family, it is time to relinquish this role and welcome your new Chief Angel, Wendy Cramond, a long time Angels volunteer.
In this, my last newsletter, I’d like to reflect on how far we have come and salute the amazing people who have helped me along the way.
In Summer 2011, after being approached by my good friend and founder of Angels for Orphans, Helen Whitman, I decided to lend my experience, time and passion to Angels. This grass roots organisation aimed to improve the lives of young Cambodian children by raising funds in Hong Kong for children cared for at Sunrise Cambodia. My previous charity experience placed me in a great position to join Helen as a fellow director and shape the charity as you see it today.
Working closely with Geraldine Cox, the founder of Sunrise Cambodia, and her team to support their vision and secure funds to make things happen on the ground, has been a privilege. Her compassion for the children in her care and her selfless dedication will always be an inspiration to me and I am honoured to call her a friend.
As mothers and long-time residents of Hong Kong, Helen and I both felt we needed to give something back to the local community. We reached out to Po Leung Kuk, Hong Kong’s leading social service organisation and fundraiser. In our initial approach, we offered to host a birthday party for all the children in residence. Forty-five minutes after the first meeting, we walked away as the key sponsors of “The All-Rounded Development Project”, amazingly, now in its tenth year.
In this time, we have seen so many children blossom, learn new skills, grow in confidence and simply find their way in the world. The Annual Summer Children’s Fun Day highlights this, thanks in no small part to local companies who dedicate their time, skills, merchandise and, of course, their love of making a difference in a child’s life. The volunteers have helped to create hours of fun and exciting memories for all involved.
One of my favourite times of the year at Po Leung Kuk is Christmas. I once asked the children there, “If you could have one wish, what would you ask Santa for?” These wishes became reality in 2016 when we began a Secret Santa for the children and asked them to send in a gift request. Over the years, a few tears have been shed when reading the simplest of requests: a selection of snacks or a single bottle of correction fluid. Of course, the Angels always went above and beyond to make the gifts even more special for each child. This annual event is one of the most important in the Angels’ calendar and its success is due to the marvellous and generous donations of the Hong Kong and now international community. Thank you all for your continued support. The team at Po Leung Kuk have become family and we are always warmly welcomed. I thank the devotion of team members Jackie and Elly, and of course, the extremely hard-working Vivian for all their support over the years.
In 2013, after visiting Bali on a family holiday, we connected with the local charity, Bali Kids. We met and played with the children in a small living room, learning from their carers how they needed funding and support for their dental and health care services, and their outreach health education programmes. Despite many challenges along the way, we have watched this charity grow in terms of reach and support, and the children now share a spacious, clean and safe home. We have helped to spread health messages through publishing of education brochures, critical to educating people so they can care for themselves and their children. The 4WD car we donated in 2015 has meant that charity workers and volunteers can safely travel around the provinces to see families and children, providing the vital health services needed in these small communities. I have so much respect for Brenton, Komang and their dedicated team of doctors and nurses who really do go that extra mile.
The latest addition to the Angels’ charity partner family is SoCO. We have been able to support this Hong Kong Charity for the last six years with the invaluable help of local corporates and many individuals. It is rewarding to know that we have made life a little easier for thousands of children living in severely cramped and challenging conditions. Thank you to Ms Sze for her commitment and passion in pulling everything together.
The passion and enthusiasm our volunteers have shown over the years in fundraising for all our initiatives has been truly remarkable. They have motivated the local community to get involved and many of our events have become regular “must go to” occasions, where we focus on fitness, health and, of course, having fun! These include the Angels Zumbathon, the Angels Fitness Challenge, the Angels Move-a-Thon and the Angels Live Lounge all of which offer the chance for local health professionals and talented artists to give back and showcase their own talents, all for a good cause.
There has always been and will continue to be, lots of fun, laughter and socialising at Angels get togethers. All factors which are crucial to successful fund-raising events and growing the Angels family.
Work behind the scenes doesn’t always receive the praise it so deserves. The endless admin, emails, liaising with local companies, individuals, schools, and community groups is unseen; the time that each Angel volunteers is priceless. They have and will continue to be the fuel that feed the fire. I will miss all those I have had the pleasure to work alongside; they are the most considerate, fun-loving and committed people, and I will forever hold each and every one of them in my heart. The journey would not have been the same without them all.
I thank Helen for trusting in me to grow the organisation and keep the dream alive of making a difference for thousands of underprivileged children. And I thank the past, present and future Angels for joining the team and making it memorable, and always so much fun. I will miss you all:
Helen Whitman, Nova Thomas, Wendy Cramond, Rowan Campbell, Emilie Clairet, Wanda Smart, Debby Meyers, Debbie Hill, Adeline Teo, Alice Freeman, Toni & Gina Henderson, Karen Linker, Carolyn Bickerton, Alice Nemcova, Maxine Shaw, Joanne Braithwaite, Liz Walsh, Cassie Jullienne, Nicolette Jaeger, Kin Ho, Christine Zhou, Emma Pike, Julia Perry, Olivia Crooke, Melanie Crane, Saipoh Teoh, Marie Patton, Dee Longe, Tanya Dillion, Gillian Sadler, Brigita Paje, Maria Brusuelas, Tay Lor, Tess Collins, Louise Drake, Sandy Ho, Cara G, Katie Bridges, Pete Kelly, Li L Ying, Jen Chapman, Terry Hart, Genevieve Spizzirri, Utah Lee, Rosemary Vandenbroucke, Winnie Kwong, Erin Lillis, Peggy, Yvonne Freeman, Moira McLaughlin, Kelly Prehn, Audrey Jack, Donna Searle, Emily Ma, Kaylene, Mee Yian, Christina Teh, Karin Munkholm, Tina Kalmar, Victoria Choux, Emmanuel Diaz, Michelle Temple, Helen Revans, Lizzie Wood-Vashishtha, Sanja Bernard, Marisa Zeman, Sally Laight, Denise Toms, Ringo Cheung, Nina Griffee, Rupert Griffiths, Kate Babington.
A very special thank you must go to Vincent Wong for the many years of support he has personally given when dealing with the financial side of the charity; and to John McLellan and his team at Haldanes, our professional company secretary, for keeping us on track.
My wish is for Angels for Children to continue along its path helping those vulnerable children through tough times, building new and exciting futures for all.
Thank you for the support, encouragement and for sharing my journey with me.
- Suzanne Sadler