Steve Hayward became involved when working at Northern Trust, a long time sponsor of the Advent Ball. Here are his reflections on the Ball:
From humble beginnings in 1997, the Advent Ball was to run for twenty-one years and raise a million pounds for New Ways. In 2015, stepping back as the Financial Controller after a ten-year period, I wrote an article for the Spring Newsletter (read it here). During that time, I met some wonderful people at the Ball, but the ones who always come to mind, are the ladies who would travel from an arid corner of Kenya to a cold and wet London in November, to tell the story of what life was like for the people of Turkana.
I remember over the years, chatting informally with the quietly spoken Lenny, Scholastica and Lourdes over a glass of champagne during the early evening reception, only to be rivetted to my chair when one of them would later take the microphone, bring an excitable ballroom to a pin-drop hush, and paint a picture of hardship and deprivation that constituted everyday life for so many people in their care.
And yet, their message also came with an awkward gratitude and a hope that those of us in the room whose only challenge that night would be finding a taxi home could make a huge difference. That the cost of meaningful change was actually quite small. These ladies spoke with a passion about the work they did, not just helping the communities they lived alongside with hand-outs of medicines and food, but by lifting them out of poverty through empowerment and education.
I was captivated by their dedication and humility and today, several years on, as a friend to these inspirational ladies, and as New Ways’ social media volunteer, I am more committed to the cause than ever.