SPD celebrated its 50th birthday with 400 staff, beneficiaries, donors, volunteers as well as representatives from Government agencies and other voluntary welfare organisations at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore last evening. The gala dinner was also graced by Prime Minister Lee who was the Guest-of-Honour.
Paying tribute to the work of SPD, PM Lee said: “Beyond tangible contributions, organisations like SPD remind us of what we aspire to be as a society: Where every Singaporean counts, no matter who he or she is.”
In her speech, SPD’s President Ms Chia Yong Yong commented on SPD’s journey thus far: “What started off as a small operation under a zinc-roofed sheltered workshop in Tiong Bahru has grown into one of Singapore’s more established VWO that advocates acceptance and inclusion of people with disabilities in the society.”
Ms Chia also highlighted SPD’s longest serving staff, 65-year-old Gan Boon Leong who saw SPD unfold over the years. Boon Leong joined SPD’s Sheltered Workshop in May 1971 after he became paralysed ager an operation went awry. He started with making wooden crates for bottled drinks before receiving training for bookbinding. He watched SPD grew from a zinc-roofed hut to a five-storey building today. “I am glad that with the help of SPD, I am able to earn a living and be financially independent, with the means to support my family,” said Boon Leong.
Here is a video of SPD over the years told by Boon Leong.
Several organisations were also honoured at the event for their generous and consistent support of SPD. Five organisations received the inaugural SPD Patron Awards from the Prime Minister while three others received the SPD Distinguished Patron Awards for their donation of over $1 million to SPD.
SPD Patron Award
Asia Pacific Breweries Foundation
Loyang Tua Pek Kong
NatSteel Holdings Pte Ltd
Presto Expat Motoring Services Pte Ltd
San Wang Wu Ti Religious Society
SPD Distinguished Patron Award
Microsoft Singapore ($2,182,836)
StarHub Ltd ($1,415,471)
Far East Organization ($1,050,000)
SPD Youth Aspiration Award 2014 recipient, 14-year-old Samuel Lim, started the evening’s programme with his rendition of “Over the Rainbow” with musicians from Beautiful Mind Charity. With the help and imagination of five children between five and six years old from the Building Bridges EIPIC Centre at SPD@Jurong, the audience were brought back in time to where the legend of the Merlion began through a shadow puppetry performance. The children also led the ballroom into singing the Happy Birthday song during cake-cutting.
We would like to thank all our guests for joining us in the celebration. Our deepest appreciation also goes out to Far East Organization for sponsoring the dinner, Pine Garden’s Cake for the stage cake and brownies for guests, and HEINEKEN Asia Pacific and Hock Tong Bee Pte Ltd – CornerStones Wines for providing the beer and wine respectively.