The Sugarcane Ball, held in mid-February each year, is the largest fundraising event for the Hanover Charities. It is hosted at Round Hill Hotel & Villas and organised by a dedicated team, led by Katrin Casserly, who donate their time and expertise almost year-round. This glittering event is well-attended by home-owners and guests at Round Hill and Tryall, and all the ‘movers and shakers’ from the local community. The charity has for many years, been well-supported by certain celebrities whose contribution has gone far beyond the norm. Last year, Ralph Lauren was honoured for his continued contributions with a watercolour painting of his favourite spot at Round Hill, by Jannette Eyles, and thus began a new tradition.
This year’s recipient of the award was chosen to be Sir Christopher Hohn. So it was an honour and a privilege for me to be asked to paint a beautiful scene from his favourite spot in Hanover, Jamaica; a view of the sea through a glade of palm trees.
This landscape, in acrylic on a box canvas, is a large format (75 x 115 cms) and painted in a blocky style with large brushes and heavy body acrylic paints. The painting was also to have some very special inscriptions on the back…
Katrin invited me to attend the Hanover Charities Scholarship Recipients’ Lyme, which she hosted, at her home in Kempshot, just after Christmas. I went along, with my half finished canvas, not knowing what to expect, but having been told, ‘I might offer some encouragement and inspiration’ to this group of young people. In fact, the opposite turned out to be the case. Over 150 scholarship recipients attended, some in their first year of university, some having just qualified as fully fledged professionals. Mingling amongst them, I was touched by their appreciation for the opportunities they have been given for tertiary education: pharmacists, doctors, accountants, media, IT and a host of other arenas. Those who spoke publicly to the group were eloquent, confident, accomplished, and inspiring. Their stories touched my heart, each of them so very conscious of where they would have been, now, without the scholarship’s aid and of their commitment to ‘give back’, uplifting, not only their families, but their entire community, with the benefits of their learning.
During the afternoon, they each added a note of thanks or, at least, their name, to the back of the canvas. Coming back to work on that canvas, I could feel the precious messages, the energy of gratitude that was being given, along with the piece of art. As I painted, I thought about how much good can be accomplished by the generosity of one individual, let alone a whole community, when those donations are put into the right hands. The cumulative impact that Hanover Charities has been having on this traditionally impoverished parish, over the years, must be positive indeed.
The painting was presented to Sir Christopher Hohn’s parents at the Sugarcane Ball and will be shipped to his London home for him to enjoy, along with many heartfelt messages of thanks.
If you feel inspired to donate to Hanover Charities, you can visit their website and go here to donate: