2017 Gala Dinner Recap

The First Little Heroes Gala was a night to remember filled with smiling faces, splashes of blue and positive vibes. We were truly humbled and excited by the amazing turnout. Our greatest wish was that each guest would enjoy a lovely night out, gain an insight into what we do and hopefully leave with fond memories…and to raise some funds of course! Boxes were ticked on all fronts with a night to remember had by all and topped off by the first Heroes Gala raising $67,200!

Just in case you weren’t there (or cannot remember being there…) here is a little recap!

As 6pm rolled around, dusk was welcomed by guests filtering onto the Crowne Plaza Terrace. This sleepy beginning was soon eclipsed by the electric energy of a crowd eagerly lapping up the flowing beer and wine. Before long, it was nearing 7pm and the Ocean Ballroom came a-calling.

Our guests entered the dimly-lit space to the delightful tunes of Iny, Dan and Miles on stage. Excitement reigned. Once all were seated, MC John Anthony took the mic and supplemented a warm welcome to our guests with a left-field instruction… and after a moment of fumbling under their chairs, guests discovered an array of instruments from half-decent harmonicas, rackety ratchet-spinners, fantastically flaky flutes and well-cheap whistles destined to produce a cacophony reminiscent of Bach’s infant years. MC John proceeded to conduct this makeshift orchestra to an amazing

….ly reasonable rendition of Wipe-Out. This was only a precursor of what was to come…


Entrees were served and guests got to meet Little Heroes Ambassadors Elka Whalan and Bruce Hopkins as MC John channelled his inner Tracey Grimshaw.

These were no normal interviews as a challenge was thrown out to the crowd mid-stream. As Elka captivated the crowd recalling her first experiences of live television, guests were given the instruction -at Queen’s “We Are the Champions” first person to storm the stage and steal a high-five from Elka, had a box of chocolates heading their way. Little Heroes’ own Jo Ryan was the sprightliest to the stage, proving herself to be the champion my friends, the one who dared to keep fighting til the end and by snapping up the coveted high-five, scored a delicious box of Guylian chocolates (for her table, of course).

Little Heroes Ambassadors Elka Whalan and Bruce Hopkins

High-fives all round!

Next came Hoppo’s time under the spotlight and once more, a challenge was posed to the masses. The song? Tina Turner’s classic “We Don’t Need Another Hero”…but alas, we did! The challenge? Once you hear the song, first person to throw themselves on the floor, legs akimbo, to be rescued by Bondi Rescue’s own, Bruce Hopkins! The prize? Well, a lovely box of Guylian chocolates is surely appropriate recompense to risk one’s life on the dancefloor. Another of the Little Heroes’ parents and friends family, Janey Alderman, proved to be the bravest, most rescue-worthy. The room collectively gasped, as for a split second they were transported to South Bondi on a Summer afternoon witnessing a pulsating rescue. Would she make it? Could he do it? In what seemed like 35 seconds (but was actually 38), we had our answer –
…and it was… sort of. In any case, hand over those chockies!

We DO need another hero!

Coming up, on Bondi Rescue…

There probably isn’t a person within the Little Heroes sphere better equipped to articulate why and what we do than Heroes’ parent, advisory board member and resident Superwoman, Nerida Bodycote. Nerida gave the captivated room an insight into her own family with daughter Madi and husband Chris. This was the perfect introduction to a short video involving a few of our families and their time with us.

One of Little Heroes’ staunchest supporters, Nerida Bodycote

Little Heroes CEO Tracey Ayton reminding everyone why they are here and formally thanking the room for supporting Heroes

Table 12’s gang of ragamuffins won (you guessed it) a box of Guylian chocolates, going under the sea in the Octopus’ Garden!

The last bit of fun before the dance-y dance-y time saw our guests pull out their phones for a quick Heroes-themed interactive KAHOOT quiz! It was a fast-paced, competitive and entertaining contest…one player must have had a reeeeally good night if they thought that Heroes’ long-time ambassador was Bruce “Stoppo” Hopkins…

It was then over to Matt Thistlethwaite MP to draw the lucky raffle winners who were able to take home a night at the Crowne Plaza, a flatscreen TV and voucher to Chiswick – not too shabby!

Party time! Calling on Iny, Dan and Miles to bring this baby home! Our amazing 3-piece capped off the night in sublime style with soulful renditions of some old and new-school hits.

Casting an eye over the pulsating dancefloor, seeing smiles, laughter, conversation and mis-steps, how lovely and fitting to end the night with such energy!

Some not-so-little thank you’s…

To our MC – the wonderfully engaging, silver-tongued and all round legend, John Anthony (transcender.com.au) for volunteering his services. What an atmosphere and environment he was able to create – it was all we had hoped for and everything we didn’t know we wanted! For our first big formal event, how important it was to have the right person front and centre, steering the ship and by golly did we find the right Captain. John, thank you. Be sure to treat your trusty First Mate, Josh Anthony on audio, well.

A huge thank you to the amazing Lisa Kozlowski and sidekick (hubby) Josh Anthony. This dynamic duo brought the room to life with their tasteful imagining of an underwater wonderland. Cuts and bruises from fraught Friday, 5am forages at Paddy’s Markets were well and truly worth it to acquire the superb foliage that adorned the tables and stage. These two also gave up their Saturday to setup the room. This was an enormous effort to bring an effortless elegance to the night and one that we hope our guests appreciated.

To our band. We absolutely hit the jackpot in acquiring the enormously talented trio of Iny, Dan and Miles. The soundtrack to a night is an oft underrated aspect… but not this night – everyone left with their dance-boots satisfyingly filled to the brim. We shall be calling on them again next year!

To the families of George, Oscar, Hugo, Madi, Kate, Luca and Harvey for providing an insight into their lives and allowing our guests to be part of their ride.

Our photographer, Jo Slaughter (puddlepics.com.au) for volunteering her services on the night. By capturing the essence of what the night was about, it will now always live on.

MP Matt Thistlethwaite for attending and once again showing his support for our program and our families.

To the following businesses and individuals for their generous offerings to auctions and raffle prizes – Bio Island, Catalina, David Kirk, Nutrimetics, Beryl Cook, Crowne Plaza, Chiswick, Jennifer Santifort.

Lastly, to all that attended, supported, donated, encouraged, troubleshot, queried, engaged and suggested – thank you, every interaction built the Inaugural Little Heroes Gala Dinner into a truly splendid evening and more than what we could have ever hoped for. We have already commenced planning for 2018 and look forward to seeing you there!

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