our stories

Why I Love The Helena May – By Ray Tsang

why i love the helena may - by ray tsang

The Helena May is a perfect haven from the noise and bustle of the city. Every now and then I like to visit the Club for peace and quiet, which is a luxury in a crowded metropolis. As soon as I enter the Club, I immediately feel a sense of calm and comfort. I will grab the latest issue of Hong Kong Tatler or The Spectator and sit down in the lounge area. Or I will go to the balcony to enjoy a cigar. Or I will head down to the library to browse around. The library has all kinds of books. I tend to linger around the history and biography aisles. The last book I checked out was White Mischief by James Fox. The Helena May is my favourite place to relax, unwind and while away an afternoon.

The Helena May is also my go-to venue when it comes to hosting social functions. Equipped with a spacious dining area, function rooms of different sizes, and a garden, the Club is a versatile locale capable of hosting a variety of events. In 2017, my golf society held its annual black-tie dinner party in the Blue Room. Many of the guests were visiting the Club for the first time. They were all impressed by the ambience and elegant décor, not to mention the exceptional food and service. In 2018, my golf society threw a Christmas garden party. The garden looked amazing decorated with Christmas lights. Christmas music was played during the whole time. The guests had a fabulous time mingling and munching on delicious canapés. It was a most festive and delightful evening.

I count myself lucky to be a member of The Helena May. It really is one of the best-kept secrets in town. I cannot recommend it enough. Come pay a visit and discover it yourself.

Ray Tsang


our stories
ray 02

UNICFE Change for Good – By Sabrina Ho

unicef change for good - by sabrina ho

The Community Outreach Committee organised an appeal for loose coins in the summer to donate to the UNICEF Change for Good programme.

The Office was inundated with bags of coins and members were invited to help with sorting and counting. We did not expect the overwhelming response and totally underestimated the task at hand.

Some members brought their children and school friends to help, as this turned out to be an educational experience. One mother commented that children mostly use Octopus for payment these days and handling coins is a novelty for them. For children, each foreign coin they see is a geography lesson. Other members indulged in a bit of nostalgia over travelling when they saw coins from far-flung countries as well as favourite destinations. There is no doubt that our members are well-travelled across the globe – from Russia to Swaziland, Belize to Solomon Islands, and a lot of countries and jurisdictions in between. All volunteers had a lot of fun identifying currencies, and a magnifying glass was definitely an essential tool.

So here is the Loose Change Appeal by numbers:

  • Total of 16,531 coins
  • Weighing 78 kg
  • 50 currencies in circulation and 10 pre-Euro currencies
  • 111 man hours to sort and count
  • 5,014 Hong Kong coins, the most of any currency
  • 2,353 Hong Kong 20 cent coins, the most of any denomination
  • Most importantly, the circulatable coins have a value of HK$28,000!

Huge thank you to donors and volunteers who spent three Saturday mornings and a couple of afternoons sorting and counting.

No participant of the Quiz got all answers correct. However, four participants had three out of four correct answers, and after drawing lots the winner is Ms. Christina Mak. Hope you enjoy afternoon tea with a friend!

The COC Upcycling Group will try to make something out of the non-circulatable coins. A few old coins are also kept back for silent auction at a future date. All proceeds will go to The Helena May’s charity fund to support worthy causes. So watch this space!

Sabrina Ho

Vice Chair of Council and Honorary Treasurer

COC member

unicef change for good
unicef change for good

Your Timless Memories at The Helena May – By Rosslyn Carthy

Your timeless memories at the helena may - by Rosslyn Carthy

Among my many happy memories is the afternoon Sir Michael and late Lady Betty Kadoorie officially opened the beautiful ‘green’ wall at the back of the garden.  They had provided it to complete the privacy within the garden.

Sir Michael and I recalled old friends and acquaintances.  One was Dick Siegel (previous Director of Civil Aviation) who moved the airport from Kai Tak to Chek Lap Kok, and who still loves vintage cars.  He and Sir Michael would sometimes “meet” in their vintage models along roads in the New Territories!  Another mutual acquaintance was a young man whom I taught, whose grandfather (Frank Whittle) invented the jet engine, and whose father was one of the first pilots for Cathay Pacific when it began.  We also talked about the time Sir Michael asked permission to park under the huge old tree in the loading bay when he had very urgent business in the area, and how a story was built around that tree – “The Last Nut”.  Yes, happy memories mean such a lot.

Rosslyn Carthy



Your Timless Memories at The Helena May – By Pak Kay Lai

Your timeless memories at the helena may - by pak kay Lai

I am a new Helena May member. Literally. I have to confess that I have frequented the restaurant and the Blue Room a little bit more than I should. I like to be surrounded by the history, sophistication and generosity. And later, I found out that it is in the library where everything comes together.

This is the record card of the first book I borrowed. I am the twenty-ninth borrower and there were 31 years of history in front of me. The book was a sensation in the early 90s. It has been borrowed twice by the same member. Perhaps she did not have time to finish it the first time. But she showed courtesy to return it, waited, borrowed it again and enjoyed the rest of the story.

If there was a time travel machine, I would go to meet Member 3260. Have a little chat with her about how the book has inspired the later “code-breaking novels”. Then ask her about Helena May in the last century over a cup of tea and delicious biscuits.

I am not a nostalgic person. However, I think I know the place where I can integrate the past into my present and future.

Pak Kay Lai


timeless memories

Reading in The Garden

Reading in The Garden

Perhaps it was finishing reading Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden last month with my daughter that inspired me but I have found myself inventing excuses to spend more and more of my time enjoying our newly landscaped garden. The weather has finally cooled and on the last few Saturdays I have enjoyed the privilege of taking a break from the working week in what has felt like my own private garden, enjoying the newspapers and library new editions under the shade of an umbrella. Surprisingly, for the most part, my only company has been the library cat and, very occasionally, my daughter. It has felt like a secret oasis.   

For many of us living in Hong Kong, spending time in a private garden is something to be cherished. With our tiny flats and postage sized balconies (for those of us lucky enough to have a balcony at all), a garden is a luxury we can only enjoy on visits to friends and family overseas. At The Helena May we are privileged to have our own beautiful garden to enjoy at our leisure and, unlike Mary Lennox and Colin Craven, we need not first find a hidden door beneath the ivy to access it. So as much as I have enjoyed my solitude, I am letting you in on my secret. Please come outside and enjoy the garden. The weather is lovely and the librarian will even let you take your books outside to read, just be sure to check them out first.

Now if only I could arrange for the dining room to bring me down a regular afternoon gin and tonic!

Amanda Whitfort