Lighting up the Darkness for better mental health on Coast
DESPITE the bumper, Jaca-tinged list of events held in the Valley over the weekend, more than 90 people still congregated at the Yamba Bowling Club on Saturday night for a special fundraising night organised by the Light up the Darkness committee.
The committee, which is trying to secure the services of a permanent mental health practitioner on the Lower Clarence, organised the dinner to raise money for the cause.
Committee chairwoman Sue Hughes said she'd been "blown-away" by the response from the local community who embraced the event with open arms.
Along with a scrumptious dinner prepared by staff at the Yamba Bowling Club, Ms Hughes said guests were also treated to a moving speech from guest speaker Darren Flanagan - the explosives expert who played a key role in rescuing the trapped miners in the 2006 Beaconsfield mine collapse.
"Everyone listened to Darren speak for about an hour and he explained the journey of rescuing the trapped miners, the aftermath when they all needed a lot of help and about how we all have to look out for each other," Ms Hughes said.
Ms Hughes said it was too early to know exactly how much money the event had raised for Light Up the Darkness.
But she said strong ticket sales and fundraising on the night indicated the journey towards the group's eventual goal of $100,000 had gotten off to a strong start.
While the money raised will come in handy, Ms Hughes said the night had also done wonders in raising mental health awareness and creating momentum towards the goal of getting better mental health services for the Lower Clarence.
"I've had people coming up to me saying let's do this, let's do that, let's contact this person - so there's definitely more awareness now that we're in desperate need of this sort of service in the Lower Clarence and also an overnight (mental health) facility in Grafton," she said.
"If this can help just one person, it's all worth it."
To stay up to date with the Light up the Darkness cause and future events, find the group on Facebook.