A night of ‘Las Vegas-style’ entertainment and fun has capped off SEW-Eurodrive’s charity week, an annual event held in support of the Mental Illness Fellowship (MIF) of Victoria. Over 400 guests attended the 5 September dinner event at Melbourne’s Moonee Valley Racecourse, where they were treated to a smorgasbord of entertainment, fine dining and dance. The night’s entertainment program included a magic act, Latin dance and charity casino roulette.
The dinner was coupled with SEW-Eurodrive’s charity golf tournament held earlier the same week, which was attended by more than 130 players/donors at Sanctuary Cover Golf Course. In total, the two charity events amassed $165,000 for MIF Victoria. This sum was presented by SEW-Eurodrive’s managing director, Robert Merola, to the chief executive of MIF Victoria, Elizabeth Crowther, at the end of the evening.
A centrepiece of the night was the charity auction. Run by Bill Karp of Barry Plant Doherty Real Estate - a long-term supporter of the charity event over its eleven years - the auction offered up a treasure-trove of items to the audience. The lively auction saw fast and furious bidding for items such as a Steve Waugh autographed cricket bat, a guitar autographed by Paul Stanley of Kiss, AFL Grand Final tickets and a Billy Joel concert pack.
Equally entertaining were the antics of magician-cum-comedian, Matt Hollywood, with his madcap card tricks, sleight of hand and illusions. Guests also enjoyed a silent auction, raffle, and a charity roulette wheel where a winning spin ‘won’ the gambler a $100 donation to MIF from SEW-Eurodrive.
The night also presented a serious side, in the form of a touching speech from guest speaker Christine Sahasrara, who described her mental health challenges, and the important support she had received from MIF in dealing with this.
On presenting the cheque to MIF, Merola noted the tenacity of the Sanctuary Cover golfers on a particularly windy day - a tenacity that was only matched by the generosity of the audience attending the Las Vegas charity dinner. “It has certainly been a great night, and one that has brought in quite a tidy sum for MIF Victoria,” he said. “Working with our Financial Controller, David O’Halloran, SEW-Eurodrive has rounded this up to $165,000.”
Crowther outlined the important work undertaken by MIF Victoria - work that addresses the education, employment and housing of Victorians with serious mental illness problems. She noted that, over the past 11 years, SEW-Eurodrive has raised an impressive $1.2 million to sponsor this important work. “Your donations here tonight directly helps MIF Victoria find employment, provide education and housing for mental illness sufferers,” she said to the Moonee Valley audience. “We couldn’t achieve anything like we do without you and SEW-Eurodrive. I thank you so very very much.”