Dennis Lillee evening an amazing success

Hello everyone and thank you so much for  being part of our highly successful dinner auction last Wednesday at the Hyatt, all 380 of you.  I’m now proud and happy to pass on this report to you all, so please take a few moments to read it.

And a massive thank you to the great Dennis Lillee who enthralled us with his stories from the past, thanks to well researched questions from Glenn Mitchell. This was an outstanding conversation as evidenced by the attentive audience for all 50 minutes of their entertainment.  Most of the interesting aspects of Dennis’ great sporting life were touched upon with candour and humour.  Thank you both for providing such an amazing experience for us all, it was terrific.

We started with a stroll down memory lane, reliving Dennis capturing his 248th Test wicket to equal the Australian record, then his next to break Richie Benaud’s existing record, then his 309th to equal Lance Gibbs’ world record, then breaking it with his 310th, and finally his 355th and last one in his farewell match.  What sweet memories!

Then we briefly heard from Jennifer Chester who had just returned from four weeks of volunteering in our biggest project, Save Valley Conservancy, and how blown away she was by the whole experience.  This led  into the recent Today Tonight story on the two big screens – wow, what vision.  And then we acknowledged the major role that Ben O’Shea has made in the last few weeks, putting together the TT story and then featuring our various conservation stories exclusively for the whole week in his Inside Cover columns.  He well deserved his rhino carving award.

The main auction was preceded by a magnificent, award winning, song “Till you’re free again” and I’m copying it here so you can turn up the sound and play it again please;   It’s hard to keep a dry eye and I’m asking you all to please give a little more for the rhinos by going to this link, which issues your tax deductible receipt; And then watch it again, it’s so touching!    The rhinos are worth it!

Our celebrity auctioneer, Tiny Holly, was the best I’ve ever seen him and kept things moving very efficiently and entertained the audience at the same.  Thanks again, Tiny, and very well done.  And thanks also to our main supporters of the varied auction items, Ann, Chris, Clive, Graeme, Jim, Marc, Nola, Shaun and Syd.

As usual, our two main auction items were our two very splendid 13 and 8 day safaris, very kindly donated by the following wonderful supporters of Zimbabwe rhino conservation – Save Valley Conservancy and Sango Lodge, Malilangwe Trust and Singita Pamushana, Bubye Valley Conservancy, Amalinda Camp, Ivory Lodge, The Victoria Falls Hotel, The Hide, The Victoria Falls Safari Lodge and Jackalberry’s Chobe.  The two lucky couples will have the times of their lives and they’ve both bought these auction trips before as they know how nice they are.  Thanks everyone, again!

Nia and Travel Directors were our main sponsors for the night and besides offering a full retail travel service for business and general, they are able  to book absolutely anything you wish for, and also offer a very comprehensive range of small group tours to exciting locations all around the world. Their website is<>  and is  very worth a visit.

To make the evening flow we were very lucky to have the most generous support of Andy, Sam and Night Harvest Wines with their delicious range of reds and whites.  Further supplies can be purchased at $180 per case with free delivery, so please support them at<> . Thanks and much appreciated.

Gage Roads beers were also very supportive and supplied Single Finn and Alby beers plus Hello Sunshine apple cider, from their boutique range – thanks guys.

As always, Picasso Print & Design  produced our colour catalogue for all guests, as well as our other printing work through the year, so thanks Gemma, Cobey and Iain for your ongoing kindness to us.

Doris Brinkhaus donated some lovely gold and diamond earrings which now have a nice new home to go to, thanks Doris, and Primewest donated some holiday packages in the south west, thanks Jim.

We had a great group of helpers on the day and night who worked tirelessly to make this all function as well as it did, led  by Evelyn and Nia, and backed up by Cameron, Emma, Evan, Giles, Julie, Kate, Lorraine, Luke, Maree, Mark, Martin, Mike, Nelly, Oliver, Sacha, Sophie and Steve.  Thanks everyone, so much!

And now let’s see how it all turned out?  As you know, the tickets are priced very attractively to encourage you to attend. All our memorabilia and other items are fully donated, except for the framing, and the  modest ticket profits are used to cover necessary incidentals in putting on such a show.  Here’s what happened;

1.        Main auction – $103,775 after some last minute purchases.

2.        Silent  auction –    $15,741

3.       Memberships and T shirt sales – $800

4.       Donations –  $6,500

5.      Ticket sale profits –  $9,500

6.      Sponsorship – $3,000

7.      TOTAL – $139,316

Thanks again and kind regards to you all,