Devenish have a very good day

Yarrawonga Chronicle - - Front Page - BY EMMA PRIOR

The Devenish Good Fri­day Ap­peal has be­come one of the big­gest Royal Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal fundrais­ers in the re­gion with the event be­lieved to have more than dou­bled their fundrais­ing money from last year.

The Devenish Good Fri­day Fam­ily Fun Day for 2017 raised $21,000, a mas­sive feat for a town with a pop­u­la­tion of less than 400.

Although not hav­ing the con­firmed fi­nal tally for 2018 just yet, in an even big­ger feat the event has raised a to­tal of $51,310 this year with $27,000 of that alone raised on the day through the auc­tions of lo­cal goods and ser­vices as well as mem­o­ra­bilia prod­ucts.

Neil Lonie, or­gan­iser and gen­er­ous big­hearted com­mu­nity man, be­gan the Good Fri­day Ap­peal Fam­ily Fun Day af­ter the loss of his niece in 2008 in­spired him to raise money for the Royal Chil­drens Hos­pi­tal and in just ten years, he has helped raise more than $180,000.

“It is for such a wor­thy, tremen­dous cause and ev­ery cent we have ever raised has gone to­wards the hos­pi­tal,” Neil said.

“I am just so in awe and grate­ful to the peo­ple who have do­nated such big amounts of money and still con­tinue to do so.

“We take money all year ‘round and do­nate it to the hos­pi­tal in the week lead­ing up to Good Fri­day so we are still tak­ing do­na­tions now.

“I just miss my niece so to do some­thing to give back to the ab­so­lutely mar­vel­lous peo­ple who work down at the Royal Chil­dren’s and to do some­thing to help out the poor lit­tle chil­dren that are in there is some­thing I will al­ways work to­wards.”

Neil re­ceived cheques for up to $1000 this year with some busi­nesses of­fer­ing goods to be auc­tioned as well as a mone­tary do­na­tion to go to­wards the cause.

Many mem­bers of not just the Devenish and St James com­mu­ni­ties but sur­round­ing towns have been more than happy to do­nate goods or funds to Neil for the cause over the years as they have learnt what type of man he is and the work he does for the cause as well as ex­actly where their goods and money are go­ing to.

What is even more amaz­ing is that the whole Devenish event was ini­ti­ated and or­gan­ised by Neil him­self and as the event has be­come big­ger over the years, more peo­ple have come on­board to as­sist.

A vast num­ber of vol­un­teers put their hand up for the day this year and as­sisted in the spin­wheels and raf­fles as well as the vastly pop­u­lar auc­tion and lamb drive.

“Brenda Anderson has been fan­tas­tic in help­ing me or­gan­ise the event and I’d like to thank Kevin Hicks Real Es­tate Shep­par­ton, Paul and Jan Dur­den and Chelsea McKay for their as­sis­tance on the day also,” Neil said.

“It was a fan­tas­tic day, our food was awe­some with the spits, and the amount of money peo­ple were will­ing to do­nate blew me away,” Neil said.

“We had a tremen­dous dis­play of fire­works from Mar­shalls Fire­works that we were even get­ting com­ment from peo­ple who hadn’t come to the fam­ily day but got to en­joy that side of it.

“Our show and shine por­tion of the day also turned out much big­ger and pop­u­lar than we were ex­pect­ing which was great to see and we were so happy with the pop­u­lar­ity it gained and at­tracted.

“We had lots of com­ments off peo­ple about how good the day was so that’s al­ways great to hear and if we are putting on a good show hope­fully they will want to come back again and will tell oth­ers to come along too.”

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