Chan backs a winner with debut engagement

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 01 December, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 01 December, 1993, 12:00am

HER shiny, black Lexus was not quite reindeer and sleigh, but new Chief Secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang's Christmas message was as warm as the season's offerings when she opened Operation Santa Claus yesterday.

Appearing at her first public function since taking over the top civil service post, Mrs Chan said she hoped the charitable engagement was a good omen.

Dressed in a festive red, gold and purple jacket, she said the fund-raiser sponsored by RTHK Radio 3 and the South China Morning Post reflected the ''true meaning of Christmas''.

''It is a time to love, care and share the joy of the festive season with members of the community,'' she said.

Mrs Chan called on the public to share their good fortune with others.

She spoke of the operation's aim to raise $5 million this year for the Hong Kong Marrow Match Foundation and the Hong Kong Paediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Fund.

Money raised will be divided three ways.

The paediatric bone marrow transplant unit at Prince of Wales Hospital will benefit from highly specialised equipment which removes bone marrow from cells in a patient's body, freezes them and replaces them after an operation.

The Marrow Match Foundation aims to increase its donor base from 15,000 to 25,000 and run the world's largest registry of Chinese donors. Money will help fund blood tests, which cost $500 each.

It will also contribute to expanding post-operative care at the Bone Marrow Unit at Queen Mary Hospital.

The hospital hopes to set up accommodation for recovering bone marrow patients.

South China Morning Post Editor David Armstrong said he hoped the charities would reach their targets.

''Operation Santa Claus is one of the main community fund-raising events in Hong Kong. I am sure the people of Hong Kong will show their concern and support by giving generously,'' he said.

Operation Santa Claus has raised $15 million for charity in the past five years.

Mrs Chan was relaxed as she accepted a $50,000 cheque on behalf of the operation from Asia Securities chief Jimmy McGregor.

Considerable amounts have been pledged, including 10 per cent of all sales today in the fashion chain Episode, Jessica and Excursion shops. Toppy company has invited customers to shop at its Hong Kong and Tsim Sha Tsui branches today, or to buy a specialrange of gift products, proceeds from which all go to the appeal.