Our Gala Ball went virtual!

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Like so many things this year, due to the pandemic, our 2020 Gala Ball, which took place on 17 October, looked very different from previous years. Even though we were very disappointed not to be able to pack into the glamourous Regent Ballroom for a night of fun and fundraising, in channelling the spirit of kids we support, we refused to give up and adapted!

After an intense couple of weeks of planning and organising, our Virtual Gala Ball was born, and before we even had a chance to blink, tickets quickly sold out!

As part of the package, guests in Victoria received an exclusive hamper with speciality cheeses, wines, and an assortment of other edible goodies (all sourced from regional Victoria) to enjoy on the night of the Ball. The evening kicked off online, in our guest’s homes, with the mesmerising voice of singer and X Factor Australia Finalist, Amalia Foy.

Next, we met our co-hosts for the evening, Children First Foundation, CEO, Elizabeth Lodge and John Shore, OAM from RPPFM (the Voice of the Peninsula), who hosted the event from the studios of RPPV. They were joined by a series of guests, including Tamara Newing from Boatshed Cheese and Stephen Shelmerdine AM from Shelmerdine Wines, who guided guests through the paired wines and cheeses.

Associate Professor Leo Donnan was presented with the Pat Weldon Humanitarian Award on the night, and guests were also treated to a fascinating keynote speech from Professor Ton Tran. Comedian, Dave O’Neil provided us with entertainment and much laughter.

While the kids, who all looked fabulous in their ball attire, made several appearances throughout the evening via video link – another highlight of the event!

We were delighted to have raised over $75,000! We were blown away by the support and generosity of everyone who got involved. A huge thank you to everyone who purchased ball tickets, hampers and raffle tickets and who bid on auction items and made donations on the night.

We know that 2020 has been a tough year for many people, and this made everyone’s support even more profound.

Below are just some of the many comments we received from those that attended our Virtual Gala Ball:

“Congratulations on a wonderful Virtual Gala Ball. Fantastic you reached your fundraising goal. It was really heartwarming to see the beautiful kids at The Retreat and hear you speak. The hamper was amazing.”

“Just wanted to tell you that your Virtual Gala Ball, has been the highlight of 2020 for us.”

“Thank you, it was a truly special evening, and the Hamper was amazing.”

“I do hope that in 2021 you run the Virtual Gala Ball alongside the actual Gala Ball. For people, like myself and my husband who would find it very difficult to attend physically, it was a truly wonderful and joyful experience. Thank you also to the children for entertaining us.”

This event could not have been possible without the generosity and support of so many individuals and organisations, these include:

  • RPPV, with special thanks to Stephen Meyers for technical support on the night
  • John Shore, OAM
  • Dave O’Neil
  • Amalia Foy
  • Professor Ton Tran
  • Stephen Shelmerdine AM and the Shelmerdine Wine Company
  • Lady Marigold Southey, AC
  • Tamara Newing and Boatshed Cheese
  • Grant and the team from Jetty Rd Brewery
  • Dr Sue English
  • Luke Shore
  • Chris Gillies
  • Lisa Barron
  • Karen Bolinger
  • Catherine Curry-Hyde
  • Penelope Trumble
  • Karen Hayes, AM
  • Cathy Grant, Michelin Wannis and the team at GDJ
  • Simon Braham from Gala Fundraising
  • The Children First Foundation Events Committee.


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