On Friday, June 14, 2019, the Halo Foundation hosted their fourth annual Wings of Charity gala auction. Guests from around the world displayed their dazzling ball gowns and fine tuxedos, as they were welcomed into the historic Waldorf Hilton hotel in London. Proceeds of the event went to the Halo Foundation, whose mission is to support the underprivileged people of Antigua and Barbuda.
The Governor General of Antigua, Sir Rodney Williams, and his wife, Lady Williams, founded the Halo Foundation in 2014. Today it supports 33 different charities across the nation of Antigua and Barbuda.
The Calvin Ayre Foundation generously sponsors the Wings of Charity event. Calvin considers Antigua home and cares deeply for the nation’s residents, which is why he has chosen to be the Platinum sponsor of this event for the last four years.
Each year, the Wings of Charity event raises funds that will be donated to one selected charity within the Halo family. This year the Friends of Care Project charity was chosen.
The Friends of Care Project is a non-profit facility that provides a home and basic, loving care for children with severe mental and physical disabilities. The glittering guests shed a few quiet tears as a heart wrenching slideshow was played, highlighting some of the children who benefit from this project.
“It is one thing to know that these poor children are suffering every day, and it’s a wholly other thing to see it right before your eyes,” a guest of the evening commented as she wiped at her running mascara. “This is why I attend events like this.”
Their Excellencies Sir Rodney Williams and his wife Lady Williams travelled from Antigua to attend as the honoured patrons of the evening. As the guests dined, Sir Rodney addressed them, thanking the organizers of the event and giving some background on the Halo Foundation and it’s many accomplishments. He identified that an area of particular concern for Halo is youth who are at risk and the importance of eradicating bullying in schools.
In honour of this concern, an Antiguan singer named Sherose performed the Halo Foundation’s anti-bullying anthem “Bullying is Real.” As a victim of severe bullying herself, she was able to give quite an emotional performance.
iPads were placed at each dining table to facilitate the silent auction. Some of the auction items included various tropical vacations, a piece of a chair that had come from the infamous Titanic, and an original record signed by all of The Beatles.
As the guests enjoyed a typical Antiguan dessert of grilled pineapple, Hamilton Bland, of Charity Fundraising Auctions, hosted the live auction. Guests opened their wallets for both the live and silent auctions. That evening, roughly 35,000 GBP was raised for the Friends of Care Project. Organizers have yet to confirm the official figures of money raised from the event.
“The services that this kind of money will provide are often taken for granted in most countries. With these funds, we can afford therapy that will help children to walk, to swim, and even to speak for the first time in their lives”, shared a representative for the Friends of Care Project. “Our aim is not for these children with crippling disabilities to just survive. We look to provide them with a caring and nurturing environment that will help them to be truly happy.”
Once the dinner and auction were complete, the generous guests were rewarded with a little fun. They were treated to an evening of local Antiguan entertainment, including a stunning performance by the young rising star, Asher Otto. The waiters moved the dining tables aside and Kathy Sledge and the Itchy Feet band had all the guests on their feet dancing.
The 2019 Wings of Charity event was a big success. The Calvin Ayre Foundation thanks all the participants of the evening and welcomes them back next year to continue supporting this great cause.