Band's charity bonanza
A pop group is hitting the right chord by giving a helping hand to Hong Kong charities.
The latest gesture by Legend is the donation of $67,000 for the charity Save the Children which they raised by selling balloons.
Members of the band, who formed the Legend Music Association to help good causes, sold the balloons at Kowloon City Plaza and Sha Tin New Town Plaza.
'We'd like to help raise money for any organisation that really needs it, through music, hard work and love,' said drummer and songwriter Simon Ma.
Anthea Strickland, council chairman of Save the Children (Hong Kong), said charities would be blessed if all young people were as hard working as those at the association.
Ma said: 'We started out as a band way back when we were school students in Britain.
'We'd come home for vacations and not find that much to do, so I thought about volunteering for a charity organisation.
'That's when it hit me. Why not combine the two? So that's what we've done and our aim is to promote music as well as charity.' The band's music has always had a strong social message and Ma and guitarist Clement Fung saw the chance to practise what they preached.
Last year they organised the group of friends and music-lovers that had grown up around the band into a charity association.
Most of its members, like the band, are from Hong Kong but study abroad. They often find spare time on their hands when they are home for the holidays.
The association offers them a chance to do something worthwhile with their time, which is fun and has a strong social dimension.
Felix On Lap-chan said he got involved 'by accident'.
'I met Simon last year. We had lunch, chatted and discovered a mutual love of music,' said Felix.
'He mentioned that he was in a band. I heard the music and wanted to get involved, so I joined the association,' he said.
Last year, it raised more than $50,000 for Oxfam Hong Kong through balloon sales and concerts, a feat members wanted to match this year in their efforts for Save the Children.
This summer they have recruited 30 secondary school students as 'ambassadors' to help with fund-raising.
Felix, who is events director, said they wanted to increase respect among young people for the elderly and enable the youth to give something to society.
Nadine Lee, director of the ambassador scheme, said: 'We went to quite a few homes for the elderly and took the uncles and aunties out for dim sum.
'We also clowned and mimed for the kids at Po Leung Kuk Orphanage.
'The smiles and the interaction were great, but I love the fact that we weren't only giving, we also learned a lot.' One helper, Isaac Young, who is also interested in playing guitar, said he was 'really enjoying the summer's activities'.
The association is planning even bigger things next year.
Fund-raising efforts will not just be confined to the holidays back in Hong Kong.
A new Legend homepage will be set up on the Internet and offices will be opened in Boston in the United States, and Canada.
Hong Kong people studying abroad will be able to keep in touch with what the organisation is doing.