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 big-hearted 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.”