Sarah Kemsley, Demelza’s newest Vice President

After nearly 19 years of service, Sarah Kemsley, former Head of Philanthropy, left Demelza early in December 2021 to pursue a career in NFT. Not sure what that is? Well, read on to find out Sarah’s plans, how she will remain involved with the organization, and her reflections, looking back on her career at Demelza. 

Sarah reflects: “I started off staging what came to be known as ‘major donor events’ at Demelza, the first one being at the Royal Courts of Justice.  

“We were punching way above our weight going to such an iconic venue, with Cirque de Soleil style acts, guests including Bruce Forsyth and David Hasselhoff, as well as a fashion show featuring designer Demelza t-shirts by Elizabeth Emanuel, Jacques Azagury, Zandra Rhodes, Roberto Cavalli and more!  

“We set the bar high and our annual ball became a fixture in the social diary, taking place in the Savoy, The Ned, Kensington Palace, the Sky Garden, the Natural History Museum, the East Wintergarden, Shakespeare’s Globe, The Langham and Bonhams. From here we started building our major donor database and many of these people are still generously supporting us today.  

“My favourite event was one of our smallest. It was at the White Cube Gallery in London and Damien Hirst had drawn an outline of a butterfly especially for Demelza that we then sent to artists to put their unique stamp on. Big names in the contemporary art world like Hirst, David Bailey, Marc Quinn, Tracey Emin and Harland Millar participated and this is where my fascination with this magical and creative world began. 

“The thing that has finally, after nearly 19 years, tempted me away from Demelza is the newest space in the art world: digital art. Only a few art fans could afford to buy an original Hirst for example, but his NFT (non-fungible token) digital project opened up ownership to a far wider and diverse group of art appreciators. 

“I am hoping to be working on some unique philanthropic projects in this new space and will always be looking for the next big opportunity for Demelza. 

“I have met some inspirational supporters and colleagues, many of whom will be life-long friends but it is the families we support who will be part of my consciousness forever. One mother who was fundraising in memory of her son said that running the marathon was for him but also for ‘those yet to come'. It is because regardless of what incredible advances the medical world makes, there will always be those families yet to come that I will be as passionate about supporting, as a Demelza Vice President, as I have been all these years as a member of staff.” 

We wish Sarah all the very best with her new venture within the world of digital art and are thrilled that she will remain involved with Demelza’s future through her new Vice Presidency. Find out more about our Demelza Vice Presidents