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May 23, 2024

Disabled pups, community radio and lifesavers to benefit from Ballina’s 2022 Rotary Duck Race

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Two disabled puppies; mannequins that ‘bleed’ for first-aid students; and a new website for a community radio station are this year’s major beneficiaries of Ballina’s Duck Race fundraiser.

Rotary Club of Ballina on Richmond Foundation Chair Michael Jones said January’s race was one of the biggest he could remember in the past twenty years, with nearly 200 Northern Rivers businesses buying a $50 duck and decorating it.

The local charity leader said he shared positive views of the Ballina community expressed last year by Cherry Street Sports Club General Manager Tere Sheehan when nearly 8,000 free meals were prepared for people in need during the Northern Rivers pandemic-induced lockdown.

‘People have been very much made aware of people who have lost their incomes during the pandemic,’ Mr Jones told The Echo on Thursday morning, ‘the pandemic has, in a way, helped certain situations in a community sense’.

Dropping a line from Ballina to Tonga

The Rotary’s annual Duck Race this year raised around $12,000, Mr Jones said.

The Ballina Lighthouse and Lismore Surf Life Saving Club; the Northern Rivers Animal Services; and Ballina-based community radio station Paradise FM were to be the major beneficiaries of around $3,000 each.

Remaining funds would go into the Rotary Club’s primary fund pool to be distributed at the end of the financial year, Mr Jones said.

The foundation chair said the club had also started trying to help the Tongan community impacted by a recent volcanic eruption.

‘A lot of people in Tonga have lost their livelihoods purely because they’ve lost their fishing equipment in the eruption,’ Mr Jones said, ‘so we’ve been buying and collecting some fishing equipment to send over there’.

Mr Jones said a lot of local businesses in Ballina had donated goods towards the campaign, which was spruiked by Paradise FM.

An initial batch of equipment, ‘a lot of rods’, Mr Jones said, was to be put into a container in Queensland headed for Tonga next week.

Mr Jones said because Rotary was an international organisation, it was customary for volunteers to support overseas causes alongside local campaigns.

One of Ballina on Richmond’s Northern Rivers-based causes was the Ballina Public School Brekky Club, he said, which was aimed at making sure children who couldn’t otherwise expect a meal before school ate one.

See Helen Mirren’s new film, support a good cause

The club’s next major fundraiser was a movie ‘preview’ night with drinks and nibbles at the Ballina Fair Cinema, Mr Jones said.

British comedy The Duke, starring beloved screen icon Helen Mirren, would screen on Monday 14 March.

Tickets were $20 and available via the cinema.

Patrons could expect funds to go towards projects as diverse as those already supported by the club.

This year’s Duck Race funds were to be used to buy new high-tech ‘lifelike’ dummies for the Ballina Lighthouse and Lismore SLSC; specialist equipment for two disabled puppies and astro-turf for other rescued pets to play on; and a new Paradise FM website and listener survey.



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