Our Crown jewel
New-look Telethon bound for Burswood
TELETHON returns for its 53rd year next month with a new-look event and a family festival in Burswood that will celebrate WA and its culture of giving.
The much-loved fundraiser for children in need will be held on Saturday, October 24, and
Sunday, October 25, with live broadcasts on Channel 7 on both nights.
For the first time, there will be a Telethon Family Festival held at Optus Stadium, with activities and entertainment to run all afternoon on Sunday, October 25.
Telethon chairman Richard Goyder said the new format was necessary because of ongoing restrictions and closed borders due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We did it reluctantly but we’re also quite excited about it,” he said.
“COVID creates a lot of logistical challenges of getting people, like entertainers and the Channel 7 stars, to Western Australia. We’re just not going to be able to do that this year.”
The Perth businessman and father of four said while Telethon was ambitious about beating the $42.6 million raised last year, the 2020 Telethon weekend was also about uniting WA in a difficult year.
“We’re realistic in our expectations this year but we still think it’s going to be phenomenal,” he said.
COVID-19 restrictions have put a halt to numerous things this year, but many WA children continue to be affected by illness, disability and disadvantage.
Mr Goyder said the need for the help that Telethon provided was now even greater.
Many of the 53 charities which benefited from Telethon funding this year were doing it tough because of cancelled programs and fundraising events.
“Our health as a community is reflected in the health and wellbeing of our kids,” Mr Goyder said.
“Whether it’s medical research or whether it’s just looking after the kids who have got really serious disease and disabilities, Telethon really lifts that up.”
Mr Goyder, who is also chairman of Woodside Petroleum, the AFL Commission and Qantas, said he would just ask everyone to be as generous as they can.
“Every dollar we raise goes to a beneficiary organisation,” he said.
“Part of the brand of Telethon is that money goes to where it’s needed, and this year it’s needed more than ever.”
Basil Zempilas with Telethon stars Eamon Doak and Nora Holly.
Picture: Jackson Flindell Telethon host Basil Zempilas meets the 2020 Telethon Little Stars Eamon Doak and Nora Holly.