On Saturday evening, June 23rd 2018, the annual Wings of Charity (WOC) Gala Auction took place at London’s luxurious Rosewood Hotel, welcoming guests from around the world, all in the support of the Antiguan Halo Foundation.
The Calvin Ayre Foundation was a proud Platinum Sponsor of Saturday night’s festivities and Calvin Ayre, Founder of the Ayre Group and Special Economic Envoy to the Government of Antigua, flew in from the island to show his support for the cause.
“Everyone here is going to experience a night of sophistication, we have planned the perfect evening. We have everything from local entertainment from Antigua and Barbuda as well as entertainment out of London. Its an auction gala so you’d expect some beautiful prizes and a night of fine dining. Its at the Rosewood, so you know it promises to be a good event”, revealed Cuthbert Marcellus Forbes Jr. of the Halo Foundation and main organizer of the event.
“A lot of our guests are dignitaries and some persons domiciled in London who are from Antigua and Barbuda. We have a lot of corporate citizens, sponsors of the Halo Foundation…overall we have a good mixture of persons from Antigua and Barbuda”, he shared.
Founded and managed by Their Excellencies Sir Rodney Williams and Lady Williams, the Halo Foundation supports 33 different charities across the nation of Antigua and Barbuda while organizing events such as the WOC to raise money for the charities falling under their umbrella.
“I think it’s a great concept to have one overall umbrella-type organization and they are looking after 33 different charities. For each of those charities to try and do this, it would be impossible. To put all 33 together, raise money like this…it really has been fantastic”, shared Hamilton Bland of Charity Fundraising Auctions and official Auctioneer of the night.
Dr. Barbara Paca of Preservation Green, LLC was one of the guests of honor whose feelings were mutual; she was honored to be in attendance and participating in such a good cause.
“I serve as the Cultural Envoy to the island of Antigua and Barbuda and I think that anything that Their Excellencies do works out and they think about the people. They really love the people and the people love them back so what could be more beautiful than to be involved in such a project”, Paca shared.
“I’m seeing total diversity and they are here to support a cause that they know is beautiful. Its just an honor to be here among the people”, she added.
Also in attendance were several celebrities who are actively involved in charities and share the same views as Calvin and many others in the online gambling industry when it comes to giving back to those who are less fortunate.
“I support Sir Williams and his charity and I also have a charity of my own, so why not lend my support to another charity”, shared the world-famous Barbadian cricketer Gordon Greenidge who was present for WOC 2018.
“Whether it’s the Halo Foundation or any other charity, they need support. At times I don’t think enough support is given to these worthy causes… each year these things come about and I try to be available and make sure I’m there to give my support”, he added.
One of the highlights of the evening for Calvin personally was his surprise recognition as “Philanthropist of the Year” by the Halo Foundation, a reflection of his generosity and all the charitable work his Foundation is responsible for on island year after year.
“Antigua is a small country and its been very good to me over the years and we’re a big investor there. Its part of my philosophy of giving back just in general and I think everybody who has been successful in life has a duty to give back and this is one of the ways that I give back”, he shared after receiving his award.
“I think that the reason why the event is in London is to bring awareness to different things that are in Antigua. The event is actually for people who are from international locations, to come here and get involved with what’s going on in Antigua”, Calvin said.
“It’s a small country, so it needs to do a lot of things to get support in the world, it needs to be noticed and I think that’s what this is about”, he added.
After some words from Their Excellencies and a gala meal, the live auction took place, complimented by local and Antiguan entertainment, literally bringing the crowd to their feet for dancing and having a good time all together.
“I don’t go to a lot of these types of events so I can’t compare it to other events of this type, however, you know that anything that’s put on by the people of Antigua is going to be fun and I think you can see that happening out here”, said Calvin.
“I thought the generosity was stunning. You can see people are bidding for the item but they are bidding over its value because they want to donate to this fantastic charity”, added Bland.
While raising money for charity was the main purpose of the WOC event, raising awareness of the Halo Foundation and the charities that fall under it was a major goal of the night, in addition to just having fun in general.
“I’m happy to see all these people here just smiling and mingling and it doesn’t matter which part of life you’re from, from the rich to the poor, everyone is just having a great time”, Forbes Jr. said.
“I think in itself it’s a great opportunity to expose the work of the Halo Foundation, expose Antigua and Barbuda a bit more and give light to the kind of work we are doing and that is all we’re trying to do”, he added.