When Mayor Colin Basran came back from Kelowna’s Japanese sister city of Kasgai last week, he did not return empty handed.
Basran, who led a local delegation of business leaders to Kasugai, said he was given a large donation for the Miss Kelowna Lady of Lake Society by a Japanese family who are well-known for their support of the local program.
Basran said the cheque, from the Kuwahara family, was for $10,000.
He publicly thanked the family and said they are not only big supporters of the Lady of Lake program, they are also very supportive of the entire Kelowna-Kasugai sister-city relationship.
“The have helped forge business relationships too,” said Basran.
He said the family has been a big supporter of Kelowna-area wines and in the past has helped get wines from West Kelowna’s Quails Gate Estate Winery onto Japanese market.
The $10,000 donation to the Miss Kelowna Lady of the Lake Program is expected to continue the Kuwahara’s 16-year tradition of paying for each year’s winner to fly to Japan in October to open, and participate in, the Kasugai Festival.
Betty Cleland, vice-president of the Miss Kelowna Lady of the Lake Society, said she was “absolutely thrilled,” when told about the latest donation by the Capital News.
“That is just awesome,” she said, adding it’s honouring to know that a family from another country is so keen to help support a program that helps young women here in Canada.
“We are humbled and grateful,” she said.
Six years ago, the Kuwahara family gave the society a similar donation and that has been used to pay to send each year’s Lady of the Lake to Japan since 2010. The society raises money to send along a chaperone with the Lady of Lake.
Cleland said this year it appeared the society would not have the money to send this year’s winner to Kasugai but with the new donation would make it possible after all.