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A beautiful community feeling in Port Fairy

01 August 2022, Impact of Our Work

The fundraising success that was never in doubt

Maggie couldn’t sit by and watch tragedies unfold in Australia and around the world. She wanted to help. So, she put the word out to her local community and wasn’t surprised with the incredible result. We’ll let Maggie explain. 

“What could we do?”

Each year, on Good Friday, we organise a small fundraiser for the RCH (Royal Children’s Hospital) Good Friday Appeal. It has been a family tradition for over 20 years now.

This year, as the time approached to start organising things, the war in Ukraine began. So unbelievable. So tragic. What could we do?

How about we raise funds this year to help those devastated by this unfolding tragedy? And how about we see if there are any other groups keen to get involved - the swimmers, the dog walkers, the schools, anyone... everyone!!

A groundswell develops

And so it began. I posted on the community noticeboard page with the suggestion that anyone, any group or organisation do something, anything, to raise money for this appeal. Mentioning my lack of talent for poster design was met within 10 minutes with an offer to do the job, and within a few more minutes, the design was done and there was no turning back. 

And the thing about Port Fairy is, why would you turn back? This community always steps up to a challenge. This was never going to fail. Never a doubt.

The appeal poster was shared through social media and also printed and posted around the town, this village that I love so much. And it wasn’t long before the ocean swimmers announced that they would do a virtual Bondi to Bronte 2km ocean swim at East Beach Port Fairy. 

On the day, the wind was up, the swell was high, but so too were the spirits of everyone on the beach. From swimmers to splashers, to everyone in between, it was special indeed, raising over $2,000 to kick start the proceedings. We had opened an account at the local Bendigo Bank, naming it the Port Fairy Humanitarian Fund account, and all donations were deposited there.

Gee, I thought, this is great! What next?

Maggie

Take-off

The local theatre company announced a night of theatre and musical performance at the local lecture theatre, and what a performance it was. So much talent, and again so well supported. More $$ to the fund.

One of the local coffee shops offered to open Good Friday morning with all proceeds to be donated to the fund. Wow! All workers donated their time and wonderful barista skills. I approached the local supermarket owner to see if he would donate some milk for their efforts... “is that all you want?” “Yes. Is that ok?” “No worries” he said... then a couple of days later he presented a bottle of Penfolds Grange to auction on Good Friday. Once again, I was not surprised.

The local jeweller donated a beautiful diamond ring for auction, and some friends offered one week’s accommodation in Italy to auction. Yes, it was taking off.

A beautiful community feeling

Still more individuals and groups came on board... 

  • The two primary schools held fund raising events
  • The dog walkers organised an event
  • The Port Fairy Folk Festival Committee donated 150 chairs
  • Our beautiful Pilates instructor organised a sunrise beach session to raise funds
  • The local cafes and restaurants donated vouchers and goods so that we could create raffle prizes
  • The book club had a collection 
  • The aged care facility rattled the tin
  • Our local shire council held a “doughnut for a donation day”
  • The Port Fairy Football Netball Club offered marquees in case the heavens opened, as predicted
  • Our local butcher donated 200 fish patties
  • One of the living treasures of the town created a seafood paella to feed the masses

The $$ in the account were steadily rising.

Finally, on Good Friday, the largest bunch of cyclists we have had yet, set off on the ride to Macarthur and back. All with a Ukraine flag patch pinned to their cycling jerseys. A great sight.

Over 100 people attended the fundraiser, and what a day it was. With the raffles, the auctions, the generous donations, we raised $16,000 on the day. Such a beautiful community feeling, topped off by a local group of singers who performed a few songs, followed by our very talented friends who sang the Ukrainian National Anthem (in Ukrainian). How could it not be a perfect day? The heavens did not open.

The final tally was just short of $33,000. The floods in Northern NSW and Southern QLD had given us an additional cause. It was decided that the bulk of our fundraising should go to the Ukraine appeal, with the remainder to the flood appeal.


The Port Fairy community found creative ways to help, such as this sunrise beach session
organised by a local Pilates instructor.​

Don’t doubt. Just do!

Why Save the Children? Our Good Friday fundraiser was always about children, raising funds over many years for the RCH. It seemed so natural that this charity would be the choice. As simple as that.

There were no challenges in thinking about holding this event. I never once thought it would not succeed. Never a doubt is something I say often. Never a doubt.

The community of Port Fairy is like none that I have experienced in my life. So willing to help those in need. You just have to ask. Sometimes, you don’t even have to ask. People everywhere want to help. They want to do something. Sure, giving money is ok, but doing something to make that money happen to help others is even more poignant. We can all do this. Don’t doubt. Just do! -  Maggie

If you have been inspired by Maggie, why not organise your own fundraiser in your community, school, or workplace?

Photos: Provided by Maggie.

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