The Cessnock City Supporters Group may be a new entity but the members have been a fundraising force for Children’s Medical Research Institute over many years and proved it recently with a $10,000 donation.
Earlier this month the members visited the Westmead base of CMRI to present the results of their latest work and to do a tour to see where the money goes.
Treasurer Bruce Wilson is one of the members of the Cessnock group that has been involved in fundraising for CMRI over a lengthy period of time.
“I’d say it was over 50 years ago that a lady by the name of Olive Drayton had the idea to raise money for CMRI,’’ Bruce said.
The late Olive Drayton did fundraising through the Quota Club of Cessnock. As editor of the Cessnock Advertiser for more than 40 years Bruce formed a close relationship with Olive and was happy to promote her good work. However, when Olive found fundraising a bit too onerous as she aged, he stepped up to help.
“She ran the donor envelope scheme where she’d sent out all the envelopes to people in the community and I’d do a story on it,’’ Bruce said. “When she said it was getting difficult I just told her - don’t worry we’ll take it over.’’
Various local Rotary clubs that Bruce was involved with took over the project of fundraising for CMRI with everything from Bunnings barbecues to Christmas Carols collections organised. Now it is all done formally through the new donor group which was established earlier this year.
“We see CMRI as a good cause because even though it’s based in Sydney and that’s where the research takes place, we are all aware of the flow on of benefits from that research work which can help children in any part of Australia.’’
Bruce and the Cessnock City Donor Group members took a tour of CMRI’s headquarters when they brought in the cheque and were “bewildered’’.
“The researchers came and talked to us and we couldn’t believe what we saw,’’ he said. “I had a picture in my head of what it might look like but we were blown away. It was much bigger than I thought and to have the researchers explain what they are doing – it really opened our eyes to the importance of their work. It was fully impressive.’’
In other good news Bruce is happy to report they are about to sign up 10 new members.
Through the Quota Club, Cessnock Rotary Club and Cessnock Wine Country Rotary Club – the community has raised more than $149,000 for CMRI.