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  • Writer's pictureRichard Mark Dobson

Our Lady in Orange

The High altar of Turku Cathedral, Finland. The altarpiece was painted in 1836 by Swedish artist Fredrik Westin. The wall frescoes were created by court painter Robert Wilhelm Ekman in 1850-1854

In the realm of medieval religious paintings, radiant female saints and martyrs come to life, immortalized for their unwavering faith and dedication. Among these luminous figures, Saint Agnes and Saint Cecilia emerge draped in robes of vivid orange and reddish-orange. These warm hues symbolize not just their spiritual fervor but also their remarkable endurance and unwavering passion for their beliefs, even when confronted with immense hardship.

From left to right, Carol Cheung, Ajmal Samuel, an unknown but friendly passerby, and Mark Berger stand on the Library Bridge / Kirjastosilta, with the spire of the Turku Cathredral in the background. Turku. South Western Finland.

We've all heard about the idiom "Knight in shining armor" a metaphorical expression used to describe a person, typically a man, but can be a woman too, who comes to the aid of someone in a difficult or situation. Well this is a story of a knight in shining armor called Carol Cheung.

The armour of Torsten Stalhandske at the Stalhandske Chapel of All Souls, Turku Cathedral

In the timeless narrative of partnership, we often hear the adage that behind every successful man stands a remarkable woman. It's a commitment sealed "until death do us part," a vow to weather life's storms together.

During the 15th century, side-chapels were added along the north and south sides of the nave of Turku Cahtedral, containing altars dedicated to various saints. Carol Cheung stands in one of which is the reliquary tomb of Bishop Hemming of Turku (1290–1366) surviving from the medieval period. He was the 12th bishop of Turku died in 1366.

For Ajmal Samuel, he might as well call his wife Carol a saint, a sentiment echoed by those fortunate enough to know her. Carol Cheung stands as a paragon of devotion and care, a steadfast companion who supports Ajmal in both the obvious and subtle ways, akin to a modern-day saint. She assumes her saintly duties with unwavering emotional and logistical support, a steadfast presence throughout day and night.

In the realm of songs, Chris De Burgh's "Lady in Red" croons about infatuation—a fleeting, intense passion or admiration. Yet, the bond shared by Ajmal Samuel and his wife defies infatuation's ephemeral nature. Theirs is a profound, enduring connection—a universal tether. Those privileged to witness this bond firsthand wholeheartedly believe that Ajmal is a man blessed to have Carol by his side.

Carol, Ajmal and Mark relax in the piazza and gardens outside Turku Cathedral.

Now, let's delve into a series of candid images captured on a serene afternoon in the Finnish town of Turku, on September 3rd, 2023. This tableau of real-time moments of devotion unfolds as the ASF team whiles away time, awaiting their 3:00 PM hotel check-in. Lunch is savored at Café Carré, nestled along the banks of the Aura River, followed by a visit to the majestic Turku Cathedral.

For context, Turku is a town steeped in history, nestled in the picturesque landscape of southwestern Finland. It holds a special place in Finnish heritage as the nation's oldest city and former capital.

Lion Fountain and Cafe Carre, besides the Aura river and the Turku library.

Behind his lens, the ASF shadowman artfully captures these candid images, inviting viewers to decode the profound dynamics of Carol's unwavering commitment to her husband. Caring for Ajmal is no small feat, commanding a substantial 80% of her time, a role she embraces wholeheartedly. She is the ever-vigilant strategist, always a step or two ahead, seamlessly managing the entire ASF team during this journey.

At cafe Carre. Turku

Carol embodies the roles of band manager, road show producer, fixer, accountant, and booking agent. While Ajmal has lost the use of his legs, propelling this journey forward with the strength of his arms, Carol is his unwavering pillar of support, his left and right hand.

On the way to visit Turku Cathedral

As you immerse yourself in these captivating images, it becomes undeniably clear that Carol's thoughts encompass all of us.

Strolling the Itäinen Rantakatu besides the Aura river.

Her dedication extends beyond her husband to the entire ASF team. Through these pictures, we glimpse the depth of her devotion—a profound commitment that touches the lives of everyone fortunate enough to be a part of this extraordinary journey.

Carol Cheung and Ajmal Samuel seen strolling Aurakatu street, in the vicinity of the shiny Cadilllac with spire of Turku Cathedral in the background.

Carol Cheung checking in the team at the Scandic Hamburger Börs hotel, Kauppiaskatu 6, Turku

Distance Covered

Day 1 - Klaipeda to Sventāja 42.89Km

Day 2 - Sventājato Liepāja 62.11Km

Day 3 - Liepāja to Kuldīga 97.34Km

Day 4 - Kuldiga to Plieņciema kāpa 108.59Km

Day 5 - Plieņciema kāpa to Riga 60.14Km

Day 6 - Riga Rest and Recharge

Day 7 - Riga to Salacgriva 104.4km

Day 8 - Salacgriva to Pärnu 75km

Day 9- Pärnu Rest & Recharge

Day 10 - Pärnu linn to Märjamaa 64.1km

Day 11- Märjamaa to Tallin 72.17

Day 12- Tallin Rest & Recharge

Day 13- Tallin to Helsinki (Ferry ride)

Day 14- Helsinki to Turku (Car)

Day 15- Turku to Uusikaupunki 73.5km

Day 16- Uusikaupunki to Rauma 47.4km


Join the expedition, follow updates, and tag along on this inspiring adventure."

ASF has carefully chosen Resolve to be the beneficiary for 2023: Resolve is a charity founded in 2017 that helps create change makers in our community to drive a more inclusive city. Their signature program is a Fellowship that has so far supported over 70 emerging community leaders from diverse walks of life. There have been five cohorts of the fellowship on racial equality, ending gender-based violence, disABILITIES and empowerment, wellbeing and health and (E)quality Education for all.

Visit the following URL in order to support the "I Resolve Challenge" and Visit the following URL in order to support the "I Resolve Challenge" and give:

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