Sydney Wildlife were thrilled and honoured to be the recipients of the Community Event of the Year Award at the Australia Day Awards for our inaugural ‘Go Wild Gala’!!!
It’s wonderful to know that the community is behind our pioneering project, as well as our Councillors and our esteemed Mayor, Michael Regan.
Mayor Michael Regan with Kirstie (one of the lovely award nominators), Sydney Wildlife Treasurer - Diane Jenner, Joan Reid and Lynleigh Greig - 2 of the ‘Go Wild Gala’ committee members.
Not all the committee members could attend the Awards Ceremony but here they all are at a lunch meeting prior to the Gala. Joan, Lynleigh, Lisa, Nicole, Laurie and Ali.
We would like to say a gigantic thank you to all the wonderful people who nominated our event and to the adjudication panel for selecting our event as the winner. We were extremely honoured to listen to Mayor Regan speak highly of our volunteers and to have him present the award to us, along with the Hon. Brad Hazzard and Australia Day Ambassador Peter Wynn.
The Award Ceremony took place on Australia Day 2018 at the Glen St Theatre. There were 6 award categories:
Citizen of the Year
Senior Citizen of the Year
Young Citizen of the Year
Sportsperson of the Year
Community Event of the Year
Outstanding Community Service Award.
Sydney Wildlife’s “Go Wild Gala” won in the category of Community Event of the Year. The gala was held to raise funds to purchase and equip a much-needed Mobile Wildlife Clinic.
The Gala came together as a result of hard work and dedication from many of our volunteers. Our committee consisted of 5 members initially, but when Ali moved back to Bermuda a month before the event, we were down to 4 members - Lisa, Joan, Laurie and myself. Nicole was an honorary member of the committee who spent hours sending out emails and letters to companies asking for donations for our Auction. She also spent 6 months filming and producing an emotive video that was aired on the night, showcasing what we do for wildlife and why we need the mobile clinic. The video can be viewed here:
It took about 6 months to organise the Gala and the amount of community involvement was astounding! Two of our committee members - Lisa and Laurie - weren't actually members of Sydney Wildlife yet but they gave freely of their time and talents. Lisa was a demon in her quest to obtain as many prizes for the Auction as humanly possible! She even managed to get her friends from Levendi Jewellers to donate an exquisite white gold and diamond necklace - the Levendi Kiss - as our raffle prize. And Laurie did all our graphic design work and printing free of charge.
On the night of the Gala we had assistance from the wonderful Jeannie at the venue (the Cardinal’s Palace in Manly) as well as a large group of students at the ICMS who were in charge of decor, general event coordination and the food for the evening. Our MC for the evening, Jason Morrison - Head of 7 News - got the night off to a fun and interesting start and he introduced our first entertainer for the evening.
The beautiful soprano, Phoebe-Celeste Humphreys, of Opera Australia gave freely of her talent and that of her accompanying musicians to open proceedings with her captivating voice. Later we were treated to a wonderful performance by Arthur Murray dancers - Jace and Melissa - who also donated their time for the event.
We had celebrities, councillors, volunteers, executives, media representatives and people from all walks of the community in attendance. We even had Animal Planet’s Snake Boss (Julia Baker) and Johny Bagpipes who flew down from Queensland to do our Auction for us!
The entire event was captured on camera by the sensational Michael Mannington of Volunteer Photography whose images were a wonderful collage of memories of our first-ever Go Wild Gala!