- February 8, 2012
Our signature fundraising event for the year – with friends old and new – is a soaring success for special needs children in our care.
Drizzle did not dampen the spirits of those gathered on the flight deck of HMAS Sydney last Friday for a cocktail party, raffle and auction that raised more than $20,000 for The Infants’ Home.
Even the crew of the Sydney looked surprised when the ship’s Captain, Luke Charles-Jones donated his ship’s hat for auction. It fetched $700.
Another officer’s hat was donated and generated $650 in spirited bidding. Two donated HMAS Sydney caps raised $1100.
About 130 members of Strathfield Rotary Club attended the event, MC-ed by former ABC weatherman Mike Bailey.
Guests enjoyed guided tours of the ship and a ceremonial sunset – one of the oldest and most significant of naval ceremonies.
Ceremonial Sunset is maintained by navies throughout the world to salute the lowering of the Ensign at the close of the day. It was also the custom for Captains to prove their gun powder was dry and ready for the next encounter.
Sydney’s bond with The Infants’ Home dates to 1965, when the ship’s crew adopted The Infants’ Home in memory of the 82 sailors who died on HMAS Voyager in a collision with HMAS Melbourne off Jervis Bay in 1964.
The men of the Sydney wanted to continue the Voyager’s earlier support of The Infants’ Home. This wonderful partnership has included generous financial donations as well as many good-humoured working bees in the buildings and grounds of The Infants’ Home at Ashfield.
Today, the Sydney continues to be a great supporter of The Infants’ Home. Captain Charles-Jones presented a cheque for $5,000 at Friday’s fundraiser – money donated directly from the ship’s crew.
A raffle of various prizes raised another $1,000, making a total of about $20,000 for the night.
The Infants’ Home CEO, Anita Kumar, says it is a privilege to have HMAS Sydney and Strathfield Rotary Club as champions for its cause.
“Creating life-changing opportunities for children is as rewarding as any work can be, and we are always grateful for the support we get from our magnificent naval friends,” Kumar says.
“They make us feel special, and we appreciate how much hard work went into making our night on board another success.
“And I can assure the members of Strathfield Rotary that their generosity will make a huge difference to the lives of many children who will benefit from their kindness.”
For naval enthusiasts, HMAS Sydney is one of four guided missile frigates currently in service with the Royal Australian Navy.
She provides air defence, anti-submarine and anti-shipping warfare, surveillance, and reconnaissance.
Sydney has deployed to the Middle East four times. She took part in Operation Desert Storm against Iraq during the 1991 Gulf War, for which she earned a Meritorious Unit Citation.
Her fourth deployment to the Middle East was during the pinnacle of the Iraq War in 2003 in support of allied forces.
All photography by Diem Lam
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