Our NoRuz and Easter event in Hammersmith Town Hall was a success by every standard. The supporters who attended the event were welcomed by Amoo NoRuz (Uncle NoRuz the equivalent of Santa) and volunteers serving in a Persian tea house.
Amoo started the program by a happy song followed by the beautiful playing of the piano by Prof Stephen Rhys who also played famous Persian tunes. Peter Watsham managed the stage and did an excellent job as the Master of Ceremonies.
A video message from Ashrafis in Albania was followed by thanks and greetings in person from former Ashraf residents who are now in the UK. Professor Alejo Vidal Quadras, Dr Tahar Boumedra, Lady Moody-Stuart, Prof Sophia Bowlby, Dr Tony Wagg, and Jonathan Bayliss were the speakers, while music continued to delight with the Persian Group of Maestros who played traditional art music, followed by Theresa Haine, playing the recorder, Elizabeth Watson the viola and David Hawkins the guitar. All in all, it was a most eventful evening.
We thank everyone who took part in this event, the speakers, the musicians, the MC, and in particular those who attended and gave warmth to the event and those who also helped in the preparations.
Following are excerpts from a few of the many comments that we received after the event:
ALAN: The entire proceedings were most pleasurable and entertaining… EVERYONE involved, in whatever way, with the planning and organisation of the celebration deserves praise and acknowledgment for the part they played in what was undoubtedly a major and most successful celebration of this special occasion.
ANDRINA: I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed today’s celebration at Hammersmith Town Hall. It was lovely to see so many supporters there and was a testimony to continued hard work of ILA.
BILL: Iranian musicians excellent, food very nice, hospitality wonderful, socialising with other friends very good. Altogether an A* event.
CRISPIN: Most most impressed with the Iranian music, it was amazing.
MICHAEL AND CYNTHIA: It was a great privilege to attend such a very wonderful memorable evening, and we want to thank all those who planned and organised it, and decorated the hall and the tables so beautifully to create the welcoming Persian ambience. Special thanks of course to all who worked so hard to prepare such superb feast for so many people – a great achievement! It was also lovely to hear the special Iranian music played on the traditional instruments by very fine musicians.
DANIEL: It was a terrific event and I am sure that I am not the only person who had a great time.
DAVINA: My friend Margaret and I had a lovely time sharing Noruz with you on Easter Saturday…
The food was lovely and the music incredible…
We were made to feel very welcome and we were very impressed with how well organised you were with the food etc. I would have liked to have a link with Albania or see some photos but the technology may not have allowed that.
DIANA: Saturday’s Nowruz was nothing short of a triumph – of conceptualisation, organisation, and presentation. Great hospitality, great food, and a great atmosphere in a beautifully decorated hall. I was aware of a real feeling of camaraderie among the guests as well as the volunteers. I also noted that there was a very good attendance, which I hope you found gratifying, and many people stayed until the very end. The Iranian musicians were really special – more please! Many thanks to them for performing for us all.
An added triumph was to see Camp Liberty residents on stage. To hear their collective expressions of thanks for our support after all they have endured with such fortitude and resolve is really humbling. But it is wonderful to see them and to have the chance to applaud them and to know that others are safe from attack in Albania.
Just when it seems that there can be no room for improvement on previous NoRuz celebrations, ILA volunteers prove us wrong! Amazing!
EILEEN: I was really glad I made it to this year’s NoRuz/Easter celebration, especially now that all the remaining Ashrafis are safe at last.
ELIZABETH: Thank you very much for a wonderful evening – the Iranian New Year. The hall looked splendid, the food was interesting and delicious and the company and the talks were fascinating. I specially loved the Iranian music and the great quartet. This was a thrilling insight into Iran and the welcome into Albania, and it connected me with the tales of ancient history – a world view.
FIONA: The organisation was impressive. It was interesting to hear what efforts have been made by representatives of the EU to improve human rights in your countries of origin.
GEOFFREY: It was a lovely experience and my wife and I were privileged to come up from South Wales to be there and enjoy your hospitality and the good company of other guests, as well as the excellent entertainment from some talented performers. Well done!
JANE: It was a lovely event and a great privilege to be there. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I thought it was a good venue and straightforward to get there. I particularly loved the mix of Easter and NoRuz decoration, the jewelled rice and chicken and the wonderful company.
JOHN: Thank you so much for the welcoming hospitality displayed. I was particularly taken by the music which was played and would like to thank the performers. A very enjoyable evening.
JOHN: Anne and I enjoyed ILA’s event in Hammersmith, the first NoRuz we have attended. As ever, the inspiration of your compatriots was amazing. Thank you for the evening. Your hospitality was excellent. We also enjoyed the videos, the Iranian music and the front table displays.
KATE: We felt privileged to be there, and everyone was so warm and welcoming and friendly. It’s the first time I have experienced Iranian culture and I loved it. The food was absolutely delicious and so efficiently served – well done!
I thought the Iranian music was fascinating and obviously extremely well executed; I would have loved to have known what the words of the songs were. It was a fascinating evening and we felt very welcome in your company. We loved the films from the Ashrafis and being able to see how they are getting on in Albania. I would love to go there myself one day!
KEVIN: Thanks so much for organising such an enjoyable event. The welcome and hospitality offered are second to none. Although I had to leave before the end to attend another event, I went away feeling good and inspired. It was nice to meet with other supporters and make new contacts within the Association.
It is also good to see and hear the recorded messages from the Ashrafis in Albania as it reminds us of the success we have achieved, but also of the support work that still needs to be done.
JOHN: We loved the food, the busyness of our hosts and the terrific organisation. The attention to detail was amazing. Our tables were full of treats and a great sense of love and caring was shown. It was very good to have something so positive to celebrate and Maggie and I hold you and your friends at ILA in high regard.
JUDY: I particularly enjoyed the range of ‘entertainers’ that you had lined up, it was such a homely mixture of professional and amateur, in speakers as well as musicians, and I very much enjoyed hearing about the people who were involved in enabling Albania to wonderfully become the new home for the remains of the Ashraf/Liberty community, so inspiring to hear of those community members building their material life-support-system once again….
Thank you for the lovely food so kindly delivered to our tables, and the feeling everywhere of being welcomed (like a new year) with kindness and creative energy. Another time I would like to hear one of your creative lady volunteers explain to us the cultural significance of the table decorations.
SIR MARK: It was an excellent celebration of a very happy beginning in Albania of everyone from Camp Ashraf. It is a great gesture from the Albanian government. It was great to see films of the Albanian celebration and also to be able to celebrate it in London with such magnificent NoRuz hospitality – the food and decorations were fantastic. Very many thanks to all those volunteers who helped to make the event such a success.
PETER AND BARBARA: We greatly enjoyed our evening; we found the balance of informative speeches and entertainments just right; the Persian music was intriguing to our ears and we could just about follow the rhythms; the food was good and much of it was new to us. We met interesting & likeminded people.
It was a joyful occasion, especially with the re-settlement of ‘Camp Liberty’ in Albania. Albania is poor; but I remember that for most of my lifetime it was also under dictatorship and shunned by its neighbours – how their times have changed.
ROB: Sue and I had a lovely time – great to see so many people there especially as it was Easter so lots of people would have been away. We were in Albania last week and that was a great experience so wonderful to see everyone safe and well at last.
SALLY: It was particularly thrilling to see the film of the celebration in Albania… we did not dare to hope that such pictures might be possible a year ago!
The big hall looked as though it was bathed in sunlight when I came in – it was a beautiful sight and there were a great many people there celebrating with you and enjoying – once again – delicious Persian food!
I wish you and your friends and relatives in Albania in particular success in your heroic efforts to restore the rule of law in your own country.
ROSALYN: It was a wonderful event, especially the music programme. I enjoyed it very much and am already looking forward to the big Paris rally.