LDNZ held its third annual Charity Dinner on Saturday, September 26, 2009 at the Sebel Trinity Wharf in Tauranga. This was the venue of our first ever fundraising dinner in 2007, and it was decided to hold it there again as the inaugural dinner had been such a success.

This year, after much  hard work and many hours talking with businesses and individuals, not only in the Bay of Plenty but around New Zealand, we were able to proceed with the event of the year, and it was a wonderful night. We sold more tickets than in 2007 or 2008, so there was a great atmosphere and we had so many items to offer for sale that a number were sold by silent auction. Many items had been donated but this year, to augment our list, we asked Helping Hand to contribute various items, many of which were sporting and celebrity memorabilia. This gave us a huge variety of goods, and bidders were interested and generous. Frank Vosper, our auctioneer, brought his considerable skills and experience to the event we owe him an enormous debt of gratitude for his commitment to helping to make the evening a success.

We are also deeply grateful to Judge Paul Geoghegan who performed the task of MC with aplomb and good humour, keeping the programme running smoothly and entertaining the audience along the way. And our guest speaker, Stu Wilson, was excellent. He took the guests on a nostalgic trip into the All Black world of the 1980s, revealing some very amusing insights into that elite sport and causing great hilarity with his recollections of incidents on tour.

Another highlight of the evening was the presence of the BendonMan Cheer team. These lovely and very hard-working girls were a tremendous asset as they entertained with spirited cheer/dance routines and assisted with the sale of auction items and cocktails, one of which contained a cubic zirconia in an iceblock. The delighted purchaser of this cocktail was able to exchange the zirconia for a real diamond, valued at over $1600.

In addition, the other regular feature of our Charity Dinners was the Opening of the Padlock. This is where each guest has a turn to see if the key at his or her place-setting opens the padlock and chain which are wrapped around our major Mystery Prize. It was late in the evening when a lucky guest found his key turned the lock to a smart laptop computer.

All in all, and especially considering the dinner was held in a period of economic recession, it was a tremendous success, raising in the region of $30,000 for LDNZ. This simply wouldn’t have been possible without the support of those named above, and others in the community who generously donated money to help us run the function. In particular we want to thank both Brookfield New World (Mr and Mrs Dean Waddell) and Gate Pa New World (Mr Robin Brooke) who were extremely generous to our cause. Dave Carswell from Ohauiti Wine and Spirits has supported us from the outset with generous offers and excellent wines supplied through his business by Steve Bird – our thanks and appreciation go to both Dave and Steve. Other major donors include Roger Burley and former MP Bob Clarkson. To these and everyone who has given LDNZ their support, we offer our grateful thanks for a super evening which raised awareness of Lysosomal Diseases and much-needed funds which we are now able to use for the benefit of those affected by them.