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Hamilton branch’s He Ming Qing fund-raising dinner is a great success

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He Ming Qing dinner, 0714_2
Hamilton branch members enjoy their He Ming Qing Scholarship fund-raising dinner, July 2014

A bottle of whisky which may be very valuable was generously donated recently to Hamilton branch in aid of the He Ming Qing (Kathleen Hall) Scholarship Fund when the members held a grand dinner at the Canton Hong Kong Restaurant on June 29th, 2014.

Ian Howat (branch secretary), was given a bottle of  Old Scotch Whisky by a teetotal branch member. The donor had kept the bottle (a wedding gift) since his wedding day 55 years ago.  Ian did not recall the name of the whisky but thought it might be quite valuable.  

It is, however, against the Gambling Act to raffle liquor and as  the value was not known then, the members will consider other ways of benefitting from it.

So if anyone is interested or can offer Ian any help, he would appreciate it.   In the meantime, the dinner was a splendid success and hopefully the whisky will eventually bring in further money for the Katherine Hall Scholarship Fund. 

Miao Fan, Hamilton branch Co-President, presenting a cheque to Chris Goodwin, National Treasurer.
Miao Fan, Hamilton branch Co-President, presenting a cheque to Chris Goodwin, National Treasurer, for the He Ming Qing (Kathleen Hall) Scholarship Fund, July 2014

However, this was only one donation among many from the fifty members who turned out for the event to help raise money for the Scholarship.  Several cash donations and items for raffles as well as purchasing raffle tickets all contributed to an entertaining night out and raised the very considerable sum of $1120.00 for the fund.

A lot of hard work went into the dinner and the raffle prizes were on display so that each winner could choose from the selection until they were all gone.  Gifts from delegations, surplus jars of preserves, jams, fresh fruit, homemade biscuits were all gathered from members and even items that people brought back from China.  Although this all took some time to achieve, it created a happy and informal occasion with some people making cash donations on the night, and some buying tickets for the dinner but not attending, so saving an extra meal to be paid for by the branch.

Chairman of the Scholarship Committee, Deborah Rhode said that the amount raised would greatly contribute towards helping the He Ming Qing Scholarship fund.

The He Ming Qing (Kathleen Hall) Memorial Scholarship was established by the New Zealand China Friendship Society Inc. to provide three-year scholarships for Chinese from poor rural areas enabling them to complete nursing training in order to return to their villages and work for improved health standards.

Finally, Ian has searched for information about the whisky and he explained:

“I searched on Google. There are still a few bottles of 50’s spring cap and 60’s spring cap available at The Whisky Exchange in London at £299.00 or from Whisky Marketplace in Auckland for NZ$580.20 – the pictures match our bottle.  Our bottle has a spring cap, but has no bottling date on the labels on the bottle. This bottle of whisky is a very generous donation indeed.

Does anyone have any contacts in the liquor trade? Perhaps we should look at a private sale, or approach Whisky Marketplace in Auckland to see if they would purchase?  The labels are in very good order and the seal is intact.  Any other ideas?  If so, let me know: james.ian.howat@gmail.com“.

The branch plans to show a video on the visit of the NZ delegation to China to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kathleen Hall, which had been donated to Hamilton Branch by the late Tom Newnham.  The video, produced by Baoding TV, is in Chinese, but Ian has notes written by Jan McLeod in English, in explanation of the video. Dr Xiaoning Wang, a new executive committee member of Hamilton Branch, has recently converted the video into DVD format, and is currently looking at reproducing the notes in a more usable form. The playing of the DVD will be a feature of future dinners, and Hamilton Branch is hoping to get funding to provide the DVD and notes to other branches.

Teri France, July 2014