The Korea Herald


Little Britain’s big ball

By Paul Kerry

Published : April 5, 2011 - 18:20

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Many assume that the life of expat women is spent quietly sipping tea and chatting to friends about the next holiday or spa treat. Though this may be true for a few, it’s certainly not for most members of the numerous associations in Korea.

The British Association of Seoul (BASS) works to raise between 100 and 200 million won ($92,000-$184,000) for Korean charities every year.

BASS raises the money through its yearly Queen’s Birthday Ball, a fundraising event attracting over 500 British, Korean and other international guests. This year’s main beneficiary will be a home for the elderly in Pocheon, with other projects receiving smaller donations.

In previous years BASS has made donations of 70 million won to build a play therapy room at an orphanage in Yangpyeong and contributed 60 million won to the building of a multi-purpose facility for people with mental and physical disabilities in Mokpo.

It attracts household-name sponsors which give generously every year, including Standard Chartered, HSBC and Homeplus.

And there’s a big secret: the theme is only unveiled when the doors open at 7 p.m. on the night.

Last year, elegance, glamour and nostalgia were key elements in the fabulously decorated Grand Ballroom when the era of ocean liners was celebrated.

The themes always have British roots and in the past have included the Great British Seaside, the Chelsea Flower Show and Harry Potter.

The fantastic night includes gourmet food and wine, a live auction (including a signed Park Ji-sung Manchester United shirt donated by AON), lots of top-notch raffle prizes and dancing to a live band flown in from the U.K., plus a DJ.

This year the ball will take place on May 28 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, starting with cocktails from 6.30 pm.

It is also a wonderful night to enjoy with friends, colleagues and business associates.

For tickets or further information please contact

By Jennifer McIntosh (