Split at FCC means perhaps two charity balls next year

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 September, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 25 September, 2008, 12:00am

The Foreign Correspondents' Club ball on September 13 might have been a big success - complete with female groupies rushing the stage - but there was obviously some trouble behind the scenes. Less than two weeks after the event, the charity ball committee resigned en masse. In its letter to the board, the group expressed 'deep concerns over continuity of the event'.

The black-tie ball began in 2002 and has always benefited the Po Leung Kuk charities. The reason given for the mass departure was that the committee felt the FCC board hadn't demonstrated a level of support and commitment to the event that the 11 members expected.

'Basically, we're looking for something from the board to show they support what we do,' said journalist and ball co-chairman Thomas Crampton (pictured). 'We've built up this wonderful thing, but we really don't get any sense of support, and they're not fully behind it. All they have to say is 'we're fully behind it' and that this is fantastic.'

This is a surprise to FCC board president Ernst Herb, who suggested he didn't understand why the charity ball committee felt so unappreciated. 'The board has been very supportive of the ball,' he argued. 'A lot of volunteer hours went into it. There might have been some clashes of personality, as in any organisation. We have a board meeting on Saturday and we'll look at the matter.'

In other words, what we have here is a failure to communicate, which is ironic for a bunch of journalists. Both sides, though, say they will continue to support the Po Leung Kuk. Herb is adamant the ball will continue and Crampton says the resigning committee will hold an event, independent of the FCC, raising the possibility of competing balls next year.