November 19 - 25, 2017: Issue 338
Going Wild for the Wild Ones!
Sydney Wildlife’s inaugural Gala went off like the proverbial frog in a sock! The evening was off to a wild start as guests were greeted by serpents on the grand steps to the Cardinal’s Palace. Animal Planet’s “Snake Boss” chatted to guests about the wonders of snakes whilst handling a beautiful python. Flamin’ Galahs, Tassie Devils and Lemon Lime and Critters were the cocktails of choice to kick off the Meet ‘n’ Greet.
Guests arriving at the Cardinal’s Palace
‘Snake Boss’ Julia Baker with Vash the python
Claudia Ross and Rachel Jordan
Guests were then lead up the sandstone staircase to the Great Hall where they entered a magical room, lit with fairy lights and awash with touches of gold. Once guests were seated, MC for the night, Jason Morrison – Head of 7 News - invited award-winning soprano Phoebe-Celeste Humphreys
onto the stage to enrapture the room with her angelic voice. Phoebe was accompanied by the very talented Daniel Pini on the Cello and Lidia Bara on the violin.
Black and gold décor
Lidia, Phoebe and Daniel
Speeches were lead by the indomitable and passionate chair of Sydney Wildlife’s board – Debborah Kerr – who explained what our volunteers do and why we need the wildlife clinic to save our wildlife. Then astute businesswoman and reality tv star, Lisa Oldfield, gave a lively and entertaining version
of why she became involved. Her speech vacillated between inspirational and hilarious.
Jason also called fellow reality tv star Athena Levendi on stage to give the story of the Levendi Kiss necklace. The exquisite 18-carat white gold and diamond necklace was donated by multi-award-winning and internationally renowned Levendi Jewellers.
Jason Morrison and Athena Levendi
After a delicious 3-course meal, the lights dimmed to a glow and a powerful and inspirational video burst onto the 3 big screens. It was filmed and produced by Nicole Wedlock – one of Sydney Wildlife’s devoted volunteers. The video follows animals that have been in the care of Sydney Wildlife volunteers and are being returned to the wild. It shows many contrasts between the natural world and an artificial world that is burgeoning, to the detriment of all other species.
The video was the precursor to our Live Auction, run by none other than the star of Animal Planet’s highest rating show Snake Boss. Julia Baker kicked off the Auction with a chance to win a customised aerobatics flight in a Robin 2160i! There were 6 items on our Live Auction – one of which was a wonderful package donated by Celebrity Chef Kate and the White Glove Nanny Service. The package included a nanny for 12 hours and a dinner cooked by Chef Kate in a chosen location.
Once the Live Auctions were complete, the audience was treated to a sizzling rumba by Jace and Melissa from Arthur Murray. Their riveting performance had the room entranced.
In keeping with the ‘wild’ theme, Jace and Melissa performed to a “Tarzan” track.
Dancing and revelry ensued and the night was proclaimed a success when the amount raised was announced at a staggering $50,000!
With special thanks to Michael Mannington of Volunteer Photography for the wonderful images.
We still have a way to go to reach our goal of $200K but we are now well past the halfway mark.
The key to their future is in your hands.
Report by Lynleigh Greig
Phoebe, Lisa, Stef, Joan, Victoria and Justine.
Sonja Elwood, one of the founders and Carers of Sydney Wildlife and Lynleigh Grieg, Sydney Wildlife Rescuer and Carer and Pittwater Online News' Sydney Wildlife Columnist