LOCAL CLUBS HELP RAISE THOUSANDS FOR
AUSTRALIANS are well known for their generosity and willingness to lend a hand in times of need.
The response to the recent Black Saturday bushfires has brought out the best in people – and members of Victoria's yachting community are no exception.
McCrae Yacht Club was quick to respond to the disaster after member Melissa Grigg approached the club shortly after Black Saturday, with the suggestion of holding a fundraiser for victims of the fires.
Like many people, Ms Grigg had been saddened by the horrific images she had seen on television, and knowing that fellow members at McCrae Yacht Club had lost their house at King Lake spurred her into action.
While many of us say we want to do something to help, Ms Grigg went the extra mile and initiated a fundraiser night at the yacht club.
``I've been a member at McCrae since I was knee-high to a grasshopper and we have such a strong community,'' Ms Grigg said. ``To see those people lose their communities was just so sad.''
Rear Commodore Steve Berryman said that when Ms Grigg approached the club there was no hesitation and in just over a week club members, and members of the McCrae and surrounding communities were helping put together a night to remember.
``It got a bit hairy there for a minute,'' Mr Berryman laughed. ``We were getting so many phone calls we were worried it was getting too big. But it was all ok and we had a great night''.
Popular local band Munster Terrace entertained the 300-strong crowd and Sam the Koala made a special appearance on the night. The club raised nearly $12,000, with all proceeds going to the Red Cross's bushfire relief fund.
Mr Berryman said the night would not have been possible if not for the support and generosity of local businesses and sponsors such as Ronston, the Taser Association and Bendigo Bank.
The night was registered with the Red Cross to ensure that all proceeds went directly to the bushfire victims.
Several other clubs have taken McCrae's l ead and opened their hearts to the bushfire victims.
On Labour Day, Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club proudly joined forces with its local community to put on a great concert at the local football ground.
Like McCrae's event, the Nepean Bushfire Benefit on March 9 saw drinks and food donated by local businesses with all proceeds go directly to the Red Cross.
Great Australian acts including Russell Morris, Wendy Stapleton, Paul Norton, Wilbur Wilde and Bob Valentine took to the stage much to the thrill of the large crowd. The event was proudly supported by the Mornington Peninsula Shire.
And in coming weeks, children affected by the fires will have the chance to learn to sail at Albert Park Lake's Boatshed.
Manager Rod Austin said children who signed up for the Tackers program would receive 20 hours of sailing lessons for free, plus a Tackers kit, log book, t-shirt, cap and water bottle.
The program for seven to 12 year-olds is supervised by qualified instructors and includes dinghies, life jackets, a sausage sizzle and swimming. Limited spots so hurry! The free sessions run from April 6 to9 and April 14 to 18.
If you know anyone who has been affected by the bushfires and who would like to take advantage of the free sailing lessons please call Rod Austin on 9686 2571.