Sunday, 23 September 2012

Spandex Ballet Fundraising dinner

As previous residents of Cooktown, we often found the trip 'home' from Cairns a little daunting.  Three and half hours of long empty roads, mountains and twists and turns. Chuck in lots of cows on the road, the occasional feral pig and lots of kangaroos and it meant you always had to keep your wits about you.
Now as Cairns residents Sean has teamed up with some other blokes to ride from Cairns to Cooktown at the end of September! Madness I say (I will happily be driving as his support crew) but all in a great cause.
Marcus and Sean in training!

The Cardiac Challenge has been held over the last few years in order to raise much needed funds for the local Cardiac unit at the Cairns base hospital. The ride has taken on a life of its own with over 360 riders taking part annually, raising more than $350,000, so it is great fun to be involved in it, especially for the boys.

So Ben Reeves, Marcus Brady and Sean Gillen decided to form a team and take on the Cardiac Challenge.  With some consternation, Sean agreed to the team name of Spandex Ballet, and by participating, we all commited to raising $1500 for the Cardiac Unit at Cairns Base Hospital.  

They have been training for months - every Sunday morning early they take on the ride up to Copperlode Dam or even take the grueling ride out to Second Beach which is 60km each way. Fairly flat riding but still a decent ride that renders Sean comatose in the afternoon. I know that the Caffiend coffees and chilli eggs at the end of the rides were a large incentive on those cooler mornings.
Chef Marcus

We decided to hold a fundraising dinner in Fiona and Marcus' back garden, all taking on a different role to pull the event together. Marcus offered to cook his renowned Paella , Lizzie offered up Sticky Date Pudding and Caramel Sauce (who could resist) and Fiona and I created salads and canapes with the help of the wonderful Murray (donated by his wife to help our cause). Ben and Sean were on Bar duty and Ben managed to create a golden tipple known as the Cardinals Curse, which for a gold coin donation, went down a treat.

Invitations, designed by Jacqueline Larsen, went out to friends and colleagues and we gathered 34 good souls to join our soiree, armed with lots of cash for the raffle and auction. The garden was a perfect venue for one long table (donated by the local CWA) and we decorated the place with candles, fairy lights and bougainvillea.
Ben and Lizzie Reeves
The kids loved helping lay tables and set up the lights and Toby and Ella cam back to sell raffle tickets for some of the great donated prizes we had received. Even Phoebe and Wren's teacher got into the swing of it by offering his services as a band  called Apple Core and they played all night with some great covers that seemed to get better as the night wore on and the beer went down.

It was a really fun night that was different to anything we had done before. Not a dinner party in the traditional sense and not dinner at a restaurant. Everyone had a ball and after a few vinos, the bidding on the auction items went well and added to the coffers. In all we raised well over $1600 and are ready to ride (or drive in my case).

The boys leave at 5am next Saturday 29th Sept laden with staminade, nappy rash cream and lots of water!! We leave a little later and will be setting up campat Mt Carbine the first night and Lakeland the second. They are due to arrive around lunchtime in Cooktown - that will be a great moment for them I am sure.

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