The Garden Gate
Roger Hodgson
 

We lost a dear friend and member of "The Garden Gate Gang" on July 1, 2011, to cancer.  Sabine Cassar-Alpert was 52 and she loved Roger's music.  Read "The day Roger Hodgson gave more than a little bit" from Sabine's blog here.


Born in Berlin on March 4, 1959, she moved to Gozo, an island of Malta, in 1983 to marry her Gozitan boyfriend, George.  She then worked in the tourism sector and even manned the Gozo stand at the ITB (tourism) fair in Berlin in 1999.  She later branched off to web design but returned to tourism to work in a five-star hotel, the Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz.


Sabine was passionate about blogging and continued writing until almost the very end of her life, updating everyone on the process of her illness.  She truly fought her battle courageously.


She was also a wife, a mother, a sister, a friend to many, a talented photographer, a writer of letters and articles to the press (including articles to First Magazine), and she even wrote a book about living and working in Malta, which was published in German, in addition to a novel, "Angelina's Ghost."  She spoke three languages, German, English, and Maltese.  Sabine excelled in everything she attempted and she had a wicked sense of humor.


Although I never had the opportunity to be with her in person, I felt very close to her somehow.  I still hope to "meet" her someday.  I loved her very much.  ~ Kathy


Sabine's Favorite Quotations:


I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.

     ~ Thomas Watson (1874-1956), Chairman of IBM, 1943


Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.

     ~ Albert Einstein



Sabine was loved by many.  Thanks to all who contributed to this page in her honor.


Lisa Doxrude created this beautiful tribute using Sabine's own photography and other images shared by people who loved her.

I remember asking Sabine if we could use her pictures from the Tollwood Music Festival on our website and the reply was:


Hi Marie, of course you can use the photos, just choose any that you like! (I feel flattered!!) I'm really happy about Roger finally coming to UK again!” :-)


We were so glad to be able to feature these beautiful photos on our website, and there they will stay…

Thank you Sabine, with much love from Marie and Tony


Sabine Cassar-Alpert

1959 - 2011


(Click images below to enlarge)

Sabine and me met two times in Germany, Nuremberg and Munich (on the photo we were in the city of Munich), to see Roger in concert - together with many other friends of the wonderful 'Garden Gate Gang' .. I will always remember how much fun and good times we enjoyed together then, knowing these meetings of the Gang are really precious and special.

And Sabine was the one who invited me to Facebook where it became quite comfortable to stay in contact with all these lovely people .. such wonderful friendships have been made..

One day I thought about asking my friends what they feel about heaven, what heaven could mean to them personally .. and this is what Sabine wrote:


"Hello my dear, dear friends,


First of all: Christine, this really was a beautiful idea! Maybe you have been wondering why I haven't given you my picture of heaven yet. (You know me by now, I always take ages to get something done LOL!)


Well, better late than never:


My Heaven...


its walls are painted with warmth, and there are pictures of love everywhere. Curtains made of happiness make the frames for the four seasons - I wouldn't want to miss any one of them! - and the air is a breeze of music. The room itself is filled with the smiles and hugs of family and friends. Oh, and have you seen the lovely carpet? It is woven from bright strands of joy, making you smile whenever you look at it.


There is only one language in heaven; nobody would ever misunderstand one another, making it impossible to ever hurt someone unintentionally.


In Heaven I'm never lonely but i find solitude when I seek it. There's no pain, no sadness - and you'll never again lose a loved one.


I honestly don't know how these words formed in my head this morning. They were just there...


Wish you all a good Sunday! Probably won't be much online during the day, but maybe I'll recover enough by tonight to join you in the chat, but right now it doesn't look like it. I miss you!


Love,

Sabine xxxxxx"

... there is not much I can add here ... it still gives me goosebumps to read this and I deeply wish you will be living 'Your Heaven' right now, dearest Sabine ... and I miss YOU! Love, Christine XOXO



(Click image to enlarge)

A crazy surprise by crazy friends! ~ From Sabine's blog post 03/19/2011 (photos and video courtesy of Gregor Meier from Germany and Mick O'Brien from Ireland)

Saturday morning, 11.30 am, my mobile rings: it’s Gregor! I used to think it was crazy that Gregor would phone me on the mobile phone from Germany occasionally without a reason, just for a little chat. But over time I got used to it, so I just smile happily as I answer the phone. Turns out, this time Gregor actually has a reason for phoning: the courier, who was attempting delivery of the parcel with the goodies from Roger’s Nuremberg show, had called him because nobody was answering the door. So I told Gregor that I would hurry downstairs to open the door, and I’d call him right back…


And who do I find standing in front of me as I open the door? Two gentlemen, each with a huge grin on his face: Gregor and Mick!!  The funny thing is that it actually happened more than once before that couriers rang me up because the doorbell wasn’t working – so I wasn’t in the least suspicious. The surprise worked out perfectly!


Apparently, Thursday night these two crazy boys decided over a couple of beers that it would be safer to deliver the precious merchandise (autographed t-shirt & banner) in person than leaving the job in the hands of a courier service. So they went to the airport on Friday as planned – Mick was supposed to return to Ireland – but simply changed destination and flew to Malta instead.


I challenge you to find me someone who’s got better AND crazier friends than me…


Thank you guys, you truly ROCK!! xxx

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In Barcelona in 2011, Ana Lopez gave Roger a book for his birthday that she put together with fan messages and photos.  Below is the page with Sabine's photo included and her message to Roger.


(click image to enlarge)

     

I got to know Sabine through her blog and photography and eventually we became Facebook friends. Her blog was articulate and interesting and the design and layout was very professional. I was impressed by what she did. However, as a keen photographer I was really impressed by her work and it was clear that she was an important part of the photographic community in Malta, a scenic island in the Mediterranean. Through Facebook we were able to communicate and I felt lucky to be a part of her circle of friends. We also shared a love of the music of Supertramp and Roger Hodgson. We were both lucky and able to combine our two interests and take some lovely pictures of Roger performing which we were able to share with friends. I valued our friendship as we had so much in common, but most of all she was a lovely person and I was really touched to learn about the surprise that two special friends had in store for her as she fought her terrible illness. I was so happy that friends rallied round and demonstrated their love and support for her. To see her smile through adversity when she was facing a terrible ordeal showed me how brave and special she was. One thing I wanted to do for her was take some pictures of flowers as she had given me some advice on her photography and a particular piece of kit I needed. I figured rather then send her real flowers I would send a photo (I’m such a cheapskate!). One of my favourites is now hanging on my wall and it always reminds me of her; an inspirational person with a big heart, who loved to share and shared her love. This picture is for Sabine. ~ Ramzi Musallam (click image to enlarge)

Sabine… I’m still too confused to find the right words… I have so many memories on my mind, so many pictures and so many things you said… We only met two times in “real” life, but you were so near to me from the beginning. When we met in Nuremberg for the first time it was like meeting a long-time friend.


I’m watching the photos from Nuremberg and from Munich over and over again… I see you happy and I can feel again how much fun we had with our wonderful gang family. I remember all the chat nights and the giggling and how we bubbled over with laughter…


I loved your smile and your sense of humour, I adored your talent as a photographer… when you made pics I knew I needn’t to, cause yours were much better and you always shared them generously with the gang… you were happy when you had your camera – I see you dancing with your camera in front of the stage at the Tollwood Festival… just one year ago.


It was a pleasure to read your blogs and I read your novel “Angelina’s ghost” within two days. You comforted me when I felt so miserable last year… if only I could do something for you to ease your pain as well…


Beanie, I miss you… we all miss you. Sunday evening in the chat we all felt your presence so strong… I’m sure you felt that too… I hope you have found your heaven now. As Christine wrote, I also have goosebumps when I read what you wrote about your heaven…

Stay safe and warm wherever you are now… feel loved and hugged… I don’t know where you are, but be sure there’s one place you will stay forever: deep in our hearts and our memories…

So much love to you my dear… Thank you for being my friend. ~ Claudia Städtler


(Click images below to enlarge)


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The Garden Gate - Roger Hodgson

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