Sydney Wildlife Mobile Clinic Update
Excitement reached fever-pitch on 14th August when we finally drove our brand new van back from the factory!
We have spent the past two and a half years raising money to buy a motorhome to be converted into a Mobile Clinic for the treatment of injured and sick native wildlife in Sydney and beyond.
When the idea was hatched by my crazy partner-in-crime and fellow wildlife rescuer, Joan, we did some research and realised that we needed at least $200,000 to buy and re-fit a secondhand van! We had no idea how we would ever raise that kind of money! My daughter, Kayleigh (who was 13 at the time) booked meetings with local and state politicians to discuss our vision. We tried to get sponsorship, we applied for Grants, we begged car dealerships for help etc. We were unsuccessful on all counts. BUT we aren’t easily dissuaded from our goals so we decided to just raise the money ourselves. Luckily we had the backing of our wonderful Sydney Wildlife Board who gave us the nod to undertake all manner of fundraising activities.
Two very special and very steadfast supporters - who believed in us implicitly - offered to help us with the first step. Without them, we never would have managed to reach our goal. We wouldn’t have even known where to start! Those two people are Sue and Peter Glasson. The Glassons have always been extremely generous and have offered their gorgeous home and garden in Bayview as a fundraising venue for charities of their choice. Sue and Peter adore animals and take great pleasure in watching the possums and birds in their garden. They offered to kick off the fundraising venture with a light lunch in their magnificent gardens. We had auction items, jellies and jams, wonderful food on offer, plenty of refreshments and heaps of generous people. We raised $26,000!
Our second fundraiser was very challenging. We were asked by a multitude of people to hold a Black Tie Ball! Joan and I are wildlife rescuers - we are always in jeans and boots and generally covered in mud, dirt and animal dung… How on earth could we manage to pull off a Black Tie function!?! We decided to enlist the help of the Big Guns - some ladies who had organised a sophisticated soirée or 10 in their lifetimes… Ali Watlington, Lisa Oldfield and Athena X Levendi. The result was an elegant Gala held at the Cardinal’s Palace on the hill in Manly which was awash with celebrities and beautiful people. We had esteemed opera singer, Phoebe Humphreys, we had professional dancers; we even had Jason Morrison as our MC and the Snake Boss as our Auctioneer! After expenses, we raised $50,000!
Our third fundraiser was held again in the glorious gardens of the Glassons. This time it was a Garden Party and Art Gallery with a string quartet for entertainment and a live Auction. We reached the magic number and with $200,000 in the bank we could start looking for a van!
In April we found exactly what we wanted - a Jayco Conquest FA 25-1. And because Jayco Sydney gave us such a good deal, we were able to afford a brand new one! We were allowed to make a few decor choices but the main thing would be getting internal modifications done. The team at Jayco were so helpful that they offered to do the modifications for us at their cost and they threw in a generator!
And so - on Wednesday 14th August - we drove out to St Mary’s to pick up our gorgeous new van!
We are now working on getting all the equipment installed and getting the logo and graphics onto the vehicle but the hardest part is over.
Keep an eye out for the next instalment…
Joan (far left) the Jayco Sydney team and me (far right) with the van!
Internal modifications - bed out and surgery table to come in.
by Lynleigh Greig