More than 400 guests gathered on Saturday, 21st November at the inaugural ball of The Singapore Ireland Fund at The St Regis Hotel. The Fund was launched in 2009 with the goal of strengthening the already impressive historical connection between Singapore and Ireland. The Ball was supported by the local Irish community and organizations as well as many Singaporeans both new and old friends of Ireland. The theme of the Ball was to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Guinness founded by the great philanthropist Arthur Guinness.
The guest of honour was Ms Ho Ching, Patron of the Autism Association Singapore. Also in attendance the Irish Ambassador to Singapore Dr. Richard O'Brien, the Chinese Ambassador to Singapore Her Excellency Zhang Xiao Kang, MP Denise Phua, the Canadian High Commissioner David Sevigny and the British High Commissioner Paul Madden.
Stanley Quek, Chairman of The Singapore Ireland welcomed all guests and in his speech he outlined what the connection between Singapore and Ireland meant to him. Kingsley Aikins, President & CEO of The Worldwide Ireland Funds gave a short history of The Ireland Funds and what areas donations have made a difference. Her Excellency Mary McAleese, President of Ireland, wished the new Fund every success in a personal message recorded by video.
But the important focus for the evening was the cause. All the guests were moved by the speech of Denise Phua and the short video on the Eden School. The challenges of the students with autism and the benefit of having baking facilities at the school were outlined. It was the hope of everyone that having these facilities will provide dignity, hope, and a future to the students and their families.