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Birthday bash for ‘love over hate’

Sydney, 20 Oct 2016

Macquarie employee Rosemary Hannah celebrated a milestone birthday recently by throwing a big party – with a few non-standard trimmings.

Well-known Australian chef and Wayside Chapel ambassador Kylie Kwong offered her restaurant Billy Kwong as the venue for the dinner, which ended up contributing more than $95,000 to local Kings Cross charity The Wayside Chapel.

Thanks to generous guest donations, support and involvement from fellow Macquarie employees Lauren O'Shaughnessy and Andrew Di Giovanni, significant bids for auction items - including dinner dates with actor David Wenham and Kylie Kwong plus gardening tours with Indira Naidoo - and matching from the Macquarie Group Foundation under its staff support policy, the fundraising helps cover some of Wayside’s daily work with its disadvantaged clients.

Reverend Graham Long, Wayside Chapel CEO, commended Hannah for using her birthday as a way to support the local community, saying “if we had gathered around an event with cut sandwiches and cordial, it still could not have failed”.

“In twelve years by the Wayside I’ve done some pretty crazy things and been part of some beautiful moments but I don’t think anything will top the wonderful night at Billy Kwong,” he said.

“The very idea that someone would want to make their birthday an occasion for which others will benefit is, on its own, outrageous in an inspiring way. It says so much about Rosemary and her dear friends who eagerly embraced it and shared in the joy.”

The evening included a short speech by former heroin addict and now Wayside Chapel baker Andrew Windsor, who spoke of his current drug-free life, Wayside’s work in helping him get there, and some of his hopes for the future.

Hannah said she was inspired to throw the party for Wayside “because of the practical and much needed help they provide to some of the more marginalised members of our society”.

“It was also a great way to combine a contribution to the community with a fun night and delicious food from the amazing team at Billy Kwong!” she said.

Image caption: From left: Macquarie staff Lauren O’Shaughnessy and Rosemary Hannah, together with Wayside Chapel’s Laura Henry.