Special guests at Saturday’s Variety Club dinner were Peter Somers (left) and Todd Russell (right), with the event’s co-ordinator John Riordan (centre). The men hold some toys for the silent auction.
Special guests at Saturday’s Variety Club dinner were Peter Somers (left) and Todd Russell (right), with the event’s co-ordinator John Riordan (centre). The men hold some toys for the silent auction.

Digging deep for kids

A WHOLE lot of special needs kids are going to be a little better off thanks to an event in Yamba.

Local “basher” John Riordan held a Variety Club dinner for 120 people at the Yamba Shores Tavern at the weekend.

And the event included a very special guest speaker.

Todd Russell, one of the survivors of the Beaconsfield mine disaster, attended the Variety Club fundraiser to share his experiences with those at the dinner.

He spoke about the devastating mine collapse which occurred on Anzac Day in 2006, and the two weeks he and Brant Webb spent waiting to be rescued.

“That was a real crowd pleaser,” Mr Riordan said.

“I sold all the tickets (for the dinner) before the ad even went in the paper.”

Proceeds from the fundraising dinner will be split between the Variety Club and the Disabled Surfers Association, two charities very close to Mr Riordan’s heart.

“It wasn’t a huge night – I didn’t expect it to be – because (the restaurant) can only fit 120 people,” he said.

“The bloke who owns the (Yamba Shores) Tavern is very kind to me, so I ran the door at a cost situation and everything I made on the auctions and the raffles was profit.

“The feedback from everybody was that it was a really great night.”

Mr Riordan said he had worked with under-privileged children and children with disabilities for many years and continued to be inspired to improve their lives.

“It’s very dear to me; especially when you see a smile on their face when they receive a walking frame or a wheelchair, or a computer to help them read,” he said.

As well as raising money for the Variety Club and Disabled Surfers Association, Mr Riordan also helps people with disabilities run a radio show at 2TLC in Yamba.

He credits his determination to help people with disabilities to his military service in Vietnam when he witnessed a high number of children there with missing limbs.



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