Valley digs deep for kids

Friday was more than ‘good’ for volunteers across the Latrobe Valley who set out to raise money for the annual Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal.

Tins that rattled in the towns of Traralgon, Morwell, Moe and Churchill collectively gathered $178,358 for the 2015 Appeal that tallied more than $17 million nationally.

The Moe Good Friday Appeal came at the top of the bill, with a staggering $97,904.Moe coordinator Sue Bechaz said the town placed fifth in Victoria for the most money raised.

Ms Bechaz described a team effort of 30 volunteers, Westbury and Moe CFA, the Moe Rotary Club and local primary and high schools campaigning for donations year-round.

Major roads such as Dinwoodie Drive in Newborough and Moore Street, Moe were also manned on Thursday and Friday for anyone willing to part with a coin.

“It’s an astronomical amount (of money) for the size of Moe,” Ms Bechaz said.

“We can’t get that every year,”

Churchill, on the other hand, was an impressive newcomer.

Churchill Hotel publicans Stacey Coulthard and Guy Martin’s first ‘Churchill Family Fun Day’ saw 5000 people enjoy stalls, children’s activities and food – fundraising a total of $10,645.

Ms Coulthard said she did not have a fundraising target in mind and organised the event in two weeks.

“I don’t know how I did it. I started off with one stall holder and ended up with 21 stall holders; it was a fantastic turn out,” Ms Coulthard said.

“I’m still in shock. It’s great to do be doing something for the community, and they do come together with things like that.”

Traralgon’s Royal Exchange Hotel ‘Cork Club’ – a name spawned from members’ once required to carry a wine cork if they did not want to get fined a couple dollars for the Appeal – raised $60,009.

President Roy Arnold said the final tally was $5000 up on last year’s effort, boosted by a similar ‘Community Family Fun Day’ in the pub’s car park and a $2406 donation from a ‘bootcamp fundraiser’ in the town’s Agnes Brereton Park.

Charity bootcamp organiser and Revolution Spin Fit owner Andrew Crozier said about 83 participants braved 2.8-degree weather on Friday morning for two-and-a-half hours of physical exercise for the cause.

Mr Crozier, whose daughter Vivienne was treated at Royal Children’s Hospital Neonatal Care Unit for a viral infection at 17 days old, said it was amazing how many people had stories to share of the hospital.

“It’s amazing how people come together to support a worthy cause,” Mr Crozier said.

“It wasn’t just the participants.

People walking and running past stopped at the registration and gave what they could.”

Morwell’s Good Friday Appeal was honoured with the town’s fire brigade circling the streets for donations and the Morwell Club’s Good Friday Auction.

Organiser Peter Keenan said $9800 was raised, which was slightly down from about $12,000 last year.

“It was a bit disappointing, but we’re staying positive for next year. We need to get the community going,” Mr Keenan said.

All fundraising organisers stressed the need for more volunteers.

To find out more, visit the Good Friday Appeal website: