A record number of Singapore heritage heroes were honoured last night, with 108 individuals and corporations receiving the National Heritage Board's (NHB) Patron of Heritage Awards.
The major boost - from 42 last year - came with the introduction of a new award category, Supporter, which aims to broaden the pool of heritage supporters. It honours those who contribute between $10,000 and $49,999 to museums, arts and heritage.
The ceremony held at the National Museum of Singapore recognised cash and in-kind contributions and donations of objects. The total amount received last year was over $20 million, more than twice that in 2012.
Acting Minister for Community, Culture and Youth Lawrence Wong, who gave out the awards, said the donations "have been invaluable in deepening our understanding of who we are, and where we come from".
City Developments Limited (CDL) received the highest honour, the Distinguished Patron of Heritage, for those who give $2 million or more. Last year, it set up the CDL Green Gallery at the Singapore Botanic Gardens Heritage Museum.
Other recipients included Singapore Press Holdings, which received the Partner award for supporting various exhibitions and waiving copyright fees for the use of photographs.
Retired doctor Jon Lim and his wife Doreen, who donated four pieces of intricate jewellery to the Peranakan Museum, were among the 74 who received the Supporter award. The pieces belonged to Dr Lim's late mother, Madam Heah Seok Yeong, who gave the jewellery to Mrs Lim as part of her wedding trousseau.
Said Mrs Lim, 65: "We wanted to celebrate my mother-in-law's story. In the museum, these special family heirlooms would have the place they deserve and be appreciated by generations to come."
NHB's chief executive Rosa Daniel said the increasing number of cultural benefactors shows "a passionate and engaged community which is taking more interest and ownership in the preservation of Singapore's heritage".