August 3 - 9, 2014: Issue 174


 Mermaids of Palm Beach – Beryl’s Bash 2014 Dinner at Palm Beach

 Mermaids of Palm Beach - Viktorija MacDonnell, Beryl Driver and Elyse Cole.

Mermaids of Palm Beach – Beryl’s Bash 2014 Dinner at Palm Beach

On Monday 28th of July 2014 the Mermaids of Palm Beach hosted their annual dinner and show at Club Palm Beach (Palm Beach RSL) – the final fundraiser for Variety, the Children’s Charity they will hold for this year’s 2014 Bash.

On Tuesday they will swim north, or perhaps drive, to ready themselves for the beginning of the 2014 Brisbane to Busby’s Bore Bash.

We spoke to Beryl Driver on Monday night, who explained that the Bash this year will see them visit many outback towns, travelling an average of 600 kilometres each day from six in the morning to around midnight, where they will get to meet children at schools and in our rural towns. We asked if we could squeeze into the back of Car 2108, but apparently this will be filled with books, backpacks, toys and even a few lollies for all the youngsters they’re looking forward to meeting in this year’s B to B Bash.

And of course, they must also squeeze in some of those delightful Mermaid outfits – yes; they do drive in these!

This August Variety the Children’s Charity is celebrating 30 years since the Variety Bash began on the dusty roads from Bourke to Burketown, and six consecutive State and Territory Bashes are all bound for Sydney to celebrate. They will be driving 20,000km collectively across Australia, with 2,000 wacky, fancy-dressed participants in over 550 outrageously themed vintage vehicles. Along their routes they will be visiting 100 plus regional and rural towns. Thus, it may get a bit dusty out there!

On Monday evening the girls opened proceedings by thanking and awarding certificates to long term supporters such as Cochlear Australia (10 years support), the Palm Beach Golf Club’s ladies who have supported golf days at Currawong (16 years), Taylor Made Escapes and Rudi of Palm Beach Bed and Breakfast who always provides accommodation for those travelling a fair way to attend this annual dinner and refuses any payment.

Music was provided by the Endless Strummers, who have played at so many of Beryl’s Bash Dinners, and they had many up and dancing to their well played classics. The 150+ crowd also heard music by Connor Wink. He sang an original song he has recently finished to open his set – more on that wonderful tune soon!

Connor Wink is 15 years old and has had singing lessons for approximately 5 years. He attends the Hunter School of the Performing Arts. He has been a featured artist in Star Struck in 2012 and 2013. Connors mum Tracey was approached by Star Struck to apply for a Variety Scholarship, which she did, and Connor became a recipient. 

“As a give back to Variety we give our time to raise funds for Variety by having Connor sing. To date he's busked at Charlestown Square and Westfield Tuggerah. He has raised over $3200 so far. He has also performed for private Variety functions. Below is a YouTube link of Connor singing at Star Struck and the other is Connor singing at Narla Village. Connor has a Facebook Page called Connor Wink Supporting Variety The Children's Charity. “ Tracey told us this week. and

A third entertainer, ‘Super Hubert’, the skinniest superhero, who is also a bit of a magician ( ?!) and regularly joins the Bashers to perform for children along the ways. He  had everyone in stiches, including his volunteered or chosen assistants with a range of ‘magic’ …. interspersed with risqué jokes in a show for the more adult audience.
Connor and Super Hubert speak with a fan after their sets.

The other highlight of the evening was the annual Auction where two locals vied with each other to end up paying $2500 for an $800 voucher for dinner and room for the evening at Barrenjoey House. John, who would not be outdone, after winning the voucher for $1500.00, immediately donated it back, and said voucher was re-auctioned, netting a further $1000. Others vied to pay over $200 for a $100 Barrenjoey Boathouse lunch voucher, or almost the same again for a $60 bottle of rum – it was clear that this crowd understood what is worth more than $ - supporting the great works of Variety,  the Children’s Charity. Wines, downlights, paintings, even a rashie signed by world famous surfers all went, through much laughter and a fair amount of shouting, which auctioneer Peter Hudson did his utmost to keep a lid on, assisted by Stacey, Beryl’s daughter, with beautiful Caressa Gonsalves showing the items from the sideline.
John - ' I'm donating it back, now, so you can re-auction it.'

Stuart Telfer, Motoring Events Manager at Variety, the Children's Charity, was a wonderful MC and provided those attending for the first time with a small insight into the beginnings of Variety, the Children’s Charity.

Variety the Children’s Charity is a non-profit organization, chartered by the State of Pennsylvania on October 22, 1928, for the purpose of aiding physically, mentally and socially disadvantaged and special needs children in all corners of the world.

October 10, 1927, was the date for Variety’s opening curtain when in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a group of eleven men, all close friends, decided to organize a social club where they could relax after work. They rented a small room in the William Penn Hotel and decided to call the organization the Variety Club since the members encompassed various phases of show business.

Although these gentlemen had no intention of expanding or seeking additional members, fate intervened on Christmas Eve of 1928; a one month old baby was abandoned that day and left on a seat in the Sheridan Square Theatre with a note pinned to her dress which read as follows:
Please take care of my baby. Her name is Catherine. I can no longer take care of her. I have eight others. My husband is out of work. She was born on Thanksgiving Day. I have always heard of the goodness of show business and pray to God that you will look out for her.
(signed) ‘A Heartbroken Mother

When all efforts by the police and local newspapers failed to locate the parents, the club members, who included the theatre owner John H. Harris, who subsequently became Variety International’s first President, decided that the club could act as eleven ‘godfathers’ and underwrite the infant’s support and education.

The child was named Catherine Variety Sheridan, her middle name for the club and her last name for the theatre. The ‘godfathers’ found a new interest in life and were proud that a distraught mother had entrusted her child to show people. The ensuing publicity put the Variety Club of Pittsburgh on front pages of newspapers across the US. Other men in show business wanted to help. They asked if they could join and soon the club room was too small.

Another great outcome was that Catherine soon had far too much clothing and toys through others giving and giving – more than any one child could possibly use, so other needy children became the beneficiaries of Catherine’s ‘adoption’. In truth, it was the welfare of this one little girl that became the inspiration and motivation for people in show business to band together to help underprivileged and disadvantaged children everywhere. Founded by people in show business, Variety International the Children’s Charity has long and deservedly been characterized as “The Heart of Show Business”.

The nomenclature adopted for the then Club and elective offices stems from the first banquet held by the original Variety Club of Pittsburgh in 1928, when it was one year old. Expecting some 35 persons to attend, they rented a small room in the William Penn Hotel. A few days before the event, it became evident there would around 80 people attending. The only other room available that day was a three story high ballroom which held 1,100 persons. So the Variety guests would not be lost in their surroundings, the Club erected a circus Tent in the ballroom and added circus acts and side shows, peanuts and pink lemonade.

Today, the organization embraces Tents (Chapters) in 11 countries and has raised more than one point eight billion dollars ($1,800,000,000) since its inception to support the ever increasing numbers of special needs children. The vernacular of the circus is still employed in the Variety structure with the clubs called “Tents” and the members “Barkers” ever since the first fundraising affair in Pittsburgh used the circus motif.

Variety International the Children’s Charity comprises an international office in Los Angles and individual autonomous Variety Tents throughout the world. All of the officers and members of Variety International and the local Variety Tents/Chapters serve without remuneration. 

Australia is Tent 56. In 2013 $3, 738, 194.00 was spent on grants in NSW/ACT alone. Today, Variety Australia delivers over $1 million in individual and organisational equipment grants every month through:

VARIETY Future Kids Program: The gift of EDUCATION and ACHIEVEMENT – helping kids with disabilities or disadvantage fulfil their academic, sports or arts potential by supporting schools with special equipment, tuition and other practical support.
VARIETY Freedom Program: The gift of INDEPENDENCE and SELF ESTEEM - assisting with mobility and communication through liberty swings, wheelchairs, Sunshine coaches, vehicle modifications, communication aids, walk & stand equipment.
VARIETY Care For Kids Program: The gift of SUPPORT – to children’s intensive care units, children’s emergency transport services and children’s remote diagnosis and treatment services.

It’s through these programs that Variety can deliver a unique range of goods and services to assist with the specific needs of individual children, across a diverse spectrum of physical, emotional and financial conditions.

Monday’s event was an inspiration in how our community supports our resident Bashers and Variety, the Children’s Charity. THe Mermiads report this year's Dinner and Show raised 11 thousand - a great result.

We hope Beryl, Elyse and Viktorija have a wonderful 2014 Brisbane to Busby’s Bore Bash  and it would great to see other Pittwaterians in at Busby’s Bore or Moore Park on Sunday August 17th – there are going to be some wonderful cars and people who are another kind of ‘beautiful’!
Rudi - Palm Beach Bed&Breakfast - with the Mermaids of Palm Beach

The Endless Strummers
Stuart Telfer - a wonderful MC!

Day 0. Thursday 7th August.  Sea World on the Gold Coast – Meet and Greet followed by The Outback Spectacular Show
Day 1. Friday 8th August.   Brisbane to Bundaberg = 425 Ks
Day 2. Saturday 9th August.  Bundaberg to Blackwater = 516 Ks
Day 3. Sunday 10th August.  Blackwater to Barcaldine = 502 Ks
Day 4. Monday 11th August. Barcaldine to Burrenbilla = 648 Ks
Day 5. Tuesday 12th August.  Burrenbilla to Brewarrina = 492 Ks
Day 6. Wednesday 13th August. Brewarrina to Broken Hill = 611 Ks
Day 7. Thursday 14th August.  Broken Hill to Balranald = 539 Ks
Day 8. Friday 15th August.   Balranald to Bonegilla = 523 Ks
Day 9. Saturday 16th August. Bonegilla to Bowral = 518 Ks
Day 10. Sunday 17th August. Bowral to Busby’s Bore = 155 Ks

Pittwater Online News Public Gallery for Mermaids of Palm Beach Dinner and Show 2014 HERE

Report and Pictures by A J Guesdon, 2014.