Community’s $21,000 for Josh far from trivial
GRAFTON'S community spirit shone brightly on Saturday night when almost 500 people banded together to help out one of their own.
The trivia night, auction and raffle at the Grafton District Services Club raised about $21,000 for Josh Allen, 15, for his campaign to overcome an inoperable brain stem tumour.
Organised by the Clarence River Cricket Association, the Junior Cricket Association, the Westlawn Tigers Football Club and the Grafton Helping Hands Committee, the event packed 64 tables of eight into the club.
"Josh and his parents have always put up their hands to help the community and now that they need help, we're here for them," Sharon Powell, one of the organisers, said.
"The club's bottom floor was chockers and we had to borrow chairs from the high school to seat everyone.
"So many people deserve a big pat on the back for their community-mindedness and it's hard to name even a fraction who deserve it.
"I've lost track of who donated things but everyone knows who they are.
"Judy and Neil Disson and Brett Loveday of the cricket association approached (club manager) Arthur Lysaught to hold an event around the same time as I did.
"They knew little of Josh but they heard of his plight and wanted to help.
"It's turned into one of the biggest events the Helping Hands Committee has worked on."
There was a great cross-section of people involved in the night, Mrs Powell said, with representatives of cricket, football and other sports people, Josh's teachers and classmates and the wider community, with Mayor Richie Williamson asking the trivia questions.
Mrs Powell also paid tribute to two of Josh's Year 9 classmates at Grafton High, Jordan Newman and her own son, Jesse, for their tireless contribution in the weeks leading up to the big night.
It had been an emotional time for them all.
"There's a lot of negative stuff said about the young people of today but Grafton is in safe hands while there are kids like that walking the streets," Mrs Powell said.