THE SCENE was set, Santa had arrived, courtesy of British Airways, and the tree was in position.
Nearly 100 people attended the Vale da Pinta Golf resort on Saturday, December 16, to start their Christmas celebrations. But, this was no ordinary night of enjoyment – it had a dual mission.
The Rotary Clube do Silves Jazz by Candlelight event was an attempt to raise funds for underprivileged children of the region and the elderly. This year, those attending were also asked to take presents along, wrapped and labelled by age and gender for children.
The response was overwhelming, not only in numbers, but also in quality, both on the night and by donations left at the offices of The Resident newspaper and directly to Rotarians.
Those attending were greeted by Santa who, for once, was receiving presents and everyone immediately got into the Christmas spirit with the music of the New Orleans Jazz Band.
After an excellent five course meal, the fundraising began. Club treasurer, Herbert Chatters and President, Isabel Flores auctioned the donated items – a round of golf for two at Vale da Pinta or Gramacho, kindly donated by Carvoeiro Golf S.A.; an autographed bottle of Sir Cliff Richard’s wine and an original oil painting which, together with the proceeds of a 50/ 50 raffle, raised 300 euros on the night.
Individual donations to assist the Lar de Crianças Bom Samaritano project totalled 270 euros and sponsorship by six local companies – The Resident, Carrefour, Victor Picardo, Vila Castelo, Viveiros Duarte e Jardins Lagoa and GlobalTalk – contributed a further 750 euros. Special thanks must go to GlobalTalk for their contribution and for sponsorship of the attendance of the President of Bom Samaritano, Rui Paulino Dias, together with his wife and two of the older children from the home, Fabio and Anabela.
In all, 1,600 euros was raised by the event and around 100 presents received.
In January, the children of Bom Samaritano will go on a shopping trip to be arranged in conjunction with Rotary. This will be the children’s first shopping outing and their first opportunity to buy items for themselves. Presents have already been delivered to Centro de Acolhimento Temporario para Crianças em Risco in Portimão, together with money for special items. On the day of the Jazz event, Silves Rotary Club delivered a CD player to the home in time for first of two Christmas parties.
Rotarian Herbert and his wife and family were unexpectedly escorted by 30 Santas on motorbikes into the grounds of the home as the Portimão Moto Club made their 10th annual delivery of presents for the children.
Such has been the response to the Rotary event that the club has also been able to brighten up the Christmas of other local youngsters with some presents being given to some less well off children who are in their own homes.
The elderly have not been forgotten either, with money and presents also going to the Centro del dia San Marcos do Serra – a day centre for the elderly in the hinter land of Silves.
Jazz by Candlelight was not only an enjoyable event for those attending, but it has also touched the lives of many more this Christmas.
Rotarian Herbert told The Resident: “In nearly 40 years of commitment to charitable causes both with Round Table and Rotary, I have never been so overwhelmed by the public response.
“In terms of intrinsic value this night alone must have contributed over 3,000 euros in cash and presents to our project. It is a memorable and valiant act by all involved, those attending, sponsors and individuals who sent presents and donations for the cause.
“A special mention must also go to John Ballinger and his New Orleans Jazz Band, who assist above and beyond the call of duty at our various events.
“In the name of Rotary I would like to thank them all for making this Christmas special and for their support throughout the year. In this Rotary year we have been able to make donations to the boimbeiros (4,000 euros) and over 2,000 euros to other causes.
“May I wish everyone a happy and joyful Christmas and a healthy and peaceful New Year.”