Fundraiser continues to lift Flying Stars amputee players

Two attendees study framed photos of The Flying Stars soccer players, shot by Fiona Aboud and Johnny Vong.

Patrons view and buy Johnny Vong's photos of The Flying Stars players at fundraiser.All photos by Sierra Nallo unless noted

On May 12, supporters filled the Gladstone Hotel ballroom on Toronto’s hip Queen St. West to raise money for The Flying Stars amputee football (soccer) club of Freetown, Sierra Leone and the Bo Team in the southern region of Sierra Leone.  (For those who couldn’t attend the fundraiser, you can still support the players by buying photographic prints and Sierra Leonean wood carvings at our new online store. This site will also accept donations on behalf of the Flying Stars team.)

Co-director Ngardy Conteh George updates audience on The Flying Stars players and their income-generating plans.

Fundraiser organizer and co-director Ngardy Conteh George (above) gave an update on the teams and details on their income-generating initiatives and goals. You can find out more details about both teams initiatives here.

Co-director Allan Tong poses with two happy owners of Fiona Aboud's portrait of a Flying Stars Sally Warburton

Attendees snapped up beautiful large portraits of the players photographed by New York’s Fiona Aboud (whose images inspired co-director Allan Tong , above, to make the documentary) and Toronto filmmaker Johnny Vong who took part in the 2011 filming. Also up for silent auction were wood carvings and art work from Sierra Leone (below).

At The Flying Stars fundraiser, two happy owners of Sierra Leonean artwork.

Fundraiser host Sierra Leonean comedian and radio host Dr. Kokofele onstage

The evening was hosted by local Sierra Leonean comedian and radio host Dr. Kokofele (above) while musician and composer of  The Flying Stars  soundtrack Kobèna Aquaa-Harrison (below) played live musical accompaniment to the opening sequence of  the film and performed a surprise song for the “mama and papa” of the documentary, Ngardy and Allan. A touching moment for all.  Another highlight of the evening was the screening of eight minutes of unreleased footage profiling Bo team captain, Mustapha.

Composer of The Flying Stars film Kobèna Aquaa-Harrison sings live at fundraiser

A patron eyeballs salad rolls prepared by The Rhyming Chef, Philman George

Delicious salad rolls and other treats were prepared by The Rhyming Chef, Philman George (above).

Portrait of The Flying Stars captain Bornor photographed by Fiona Aboud, on sale at fundraiser.

Sierra Leonean sculpture of a woman collecting water, sold at The Flying Stars fundraiser.

Most of the photos and carvings were sold, but due to demand, an online store has been launched to offer the rest of the merchandise and accept donations on behalf of the amputee players.

Flying Stars film co-director Ngardy Conteh George poses with friends at fundraiser

A special thank you to photographer Justin Aranha for curating the presentation of photographs and art work.  To Fiona Aboud and Johnny Vong for generously donation their prints.  To the volunteers who assisted through the evening, Lhamina Conteh, Ayesatta Conteh King, Jehba Forrest, Eugenia Olu-Cole, Sierra Nallo, Debbie Nicholls-Skerritt and DJ Telley Tee. And a big thank you to all who attended and supported a worthy cause. You made a difference!

Patrons mingle at The Flying Stars fundraiser where most artwork sold

Patrons chat at The Flying Stars fundraiser at the Gladstone Hotel.

Chef Philman George with Flying Stars co-director Ngardy Conteh George chatting with patrons.

Two Sierra Leonean Canadians pose at The Flying Stars fundraiser to support their countrymen

All photos by Sierra Nallo unless noted