On Saturday 22nd October, 2016 the inaugural Unleash the Black Dog, Black Tie Ball was born. What was ten months of planning for the committee of three was over in a flash!
One hundred and fifty guests walked the red carpet, stopping briefly for a photo with Nikki Rose Images before entering the Roxy Theatre, which had been transformed into a sea of black and gold.
The formalities commenced with Master of Ceremonies, Murray Hartin; Murray is a bush poet, author and entertainer and began the evening with his famous poem, Rain From Nowhere. He had the guests on a roller coaster of hilarity, reciting other work such as The Hog Whisperer and renowned poem Turbulence throughout the formalities.
Local stock agent, Damien Crump encouraged guests to utilise the provided bidding paddles made and donated by Simply Print Anything, and a total of eleven items went under the hammer.
So many generous donations were made for the auction, some of which included a dinner hosted by Mrs Brown’s Girls at the Bees Knees Cafe in Warialda, a dinner for two at Parliament House with Member for the Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall, a stock whip hand-made especially by local Greg Johns, and a weekend getaway for ten people at Pokolbin Farm Stay, inclusive of hot air balloon flights at Beyond Ballooning.
Pokolbin Farm Stay came on board as Platinum sponsors and the owners travelled to Bingara, enjoying a great night at the ball. Damien donated his time and skills, and the auction made over $10,000 for the cause.
Bill Floyd and Kim Laidlaw of Chef and Molly Jones very generously donated their skills and time in the kitchen, preparing and cooking a delicious three course meal. They were assisted by local volunteers Robbie Ritchie, Bev Spollen, Georgina O’Keeffe, Marg and Jeff Foster who gave up their mornings and helped to prepare. The meals on the night consisted of Asian spiced pork ribs, tarragon and garlic stuffed chicken thighs, grilled salmon with lemon and honey, Italian herb encrusted lamb racks, fruit pavlova’s and red velvet cake with caramel and cream.
Larry of Gwydir Meats graciously donated the meat and is a major sponsor of this year’s ball. Larry spent many hours preparing and the quality was astounding.
The bar was serviced by the wonderful Ian Armstrong, Robbie Burge and Lee Louden. The lovely waitresses were Sally Neville, Rhonda McGregor, Tanya Heaton, Kate Muir, Judy Adams, Lindy Mills, Gail List and Debbie Armstrong. The kitchen was run like clockwork by Rachael Heaton, Judy Chaffey, Sue Mack, Sophia Mack, Scott Mack and Jodie Cooper. Doormen, Bob McGregor and Gary Voysey ensured the night ran seamlessly, and Jerry Amato looked after the silent auction sales and raffles.
All of the staff volunteered their Saturday night, and without their help the event would not have been as successful as it was.
Gold and Bronze Sponsors, Gwydir Shire Council and Ben and Brooke Marshall of B & B Marshall Haulage supported the evening and their tables gave the bidding paddles a work out. The local Bingara Lions Club were auspices of the event, Cr Catherine Egan helped with setting up on Friday afternoon and there was unwavering support from the Bingara Country Women’s Association.
Once formalities were over, Splashpool took to the spotlight and rocked the night away! Guests enjoyed dancing well into the night, and the black dog was truly unleashed. All in all, a fantastic night was had by all.
The calculators have been out, and the money is in the bank – the tally has reached in excess of $20,000! This is a fantastic achievement for our wonderful shire, and organisers are now in the process of forming a financial committee to distribute these funds. Shortly they will be calling for community groups to make an application for funding from the Unleash committee, which will be for a specific target of mental health or suicide awareness. More details are to come, and information will be posted on their Facebook page: Unleash the Black Dog, Black Tie Ball and also in local newspapers in due course. A small portion of these funds will be donated to the Black Dog Institute, who are a not-for-profit research institute, which aim to improve the lives of people affected by mental illness.
The dignitaries who were present on the evening were: Mr Adam Marshall MP, Member for the Northern Tablelands and Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW and Renewable Energy. The Hon. Sarah Mitchell MLC, Parliamentary Secretary for Regional and Rural Health and Western NSW. Mr Mark Coulton MP, Member for Parkes and Senator for NSW, Mr John Williams, who was also representing The Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP, Member for New England, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources.
Ball organisers Angie Pritchard, Sarah Crump and Amanda Rose wish to thank all of the supporters, guests and sponsors who helped to make this event happen.