A Byron Bay group has been formed to organise ongoing fundraisers for those in need, following the Victorian bushfires.

A portion of money raised will also go to the wildlife rescue fund for the Victorian region, plus to victims of the recent floods in Queensland. All donations over $2 are tax-deductable.

The group has been established under the banner of ‘Byron to the Bush’ and encourages all residents of Byron Shire to support the effort to provide much needed funds for disaster areas.

The group includes Byron Shire Mayor Jan Barham, Beach Hotel manager Elke van Haandel, Margaret Robertson of the Northern Rivers Community Foundation, Ed Ahern of Byron United, Ian Cohen –  MLC, NSW State Parliament and member of The Greens, and Bluesfest director Peter Noble.

Some members of the group oversaw the Tsunami fundraisers in 2005.

The fund-raising team has undertaken to oversee the distribution of funds and donations after its various fund-raisers.

The group also emphasise they are fund-raising specifically in Byron Bay and would like to encourage other groups to undertake fundraisers in other towns as well as rural areas in our shire.

Beach Hotel auction and raffle:

The major event will be held at the Beach Hotel on Sunday the 8th March from 2pm to 6pm.

Pub-goers will be encouraged to donate a minimum of $10 on the door as an entry fee to start the fund-raising. The day will feature special guest performances, raffles and an auction.
Well-known Byronite Grant Hilton will be door-knocking the businesses of Byron Bay and Byron Industrial Estate asking for donations of goods and services to be auctioned or raffled on the day. He can be contacted at grant@bluesfest.com.au or on mobile 0415 591 521.

Byron United will also be appealing to members to donate. Contact Diana Liptrot at info@byronunited.org.au or phone on 6680 8853.

You can also contact the Beach Hotel to donate on the following email: byrontothebush@beachhotel.com.au

Local musicians are currently being contacted, and Byron to the Bush will soon advise who is performing on the day.

Musicians interested in performing should email Grant Hilton (grant@bluesfest.com.au) or Peter Noble (peter@bluesfest.com.au) at Bluesfest ASAP.

The setting of the date will hopefully encourage other events throughout the shire to be organised on the same day to express the generosity of the shire and make it a community event.

A dinner date:

Byron to the Bush is also organising a dinner fund-raising date at the Pacific Dining Room on Friday 6th March.

Diners will experience courses prepared by some of the best local Byron Bay chefs for the cost of $150 per head – going to the Victorian and Queensland disaster relief.

Byron United – the Byron Chamber of Commerce – will be contacting its members asking for donations of goods and services to be auctioned and raffled on the day.

There will be another fundraiser at The Great Northern Hotel – Byron Bay – details to be announced soon.

For those who are willing to make contributions for the raffles and auctions, they can advise of their support to either byrontothebush@beachhotel.com.au, info@byronunited.org.au or to grant@bluesfest.com.au.

Byron Shire Mayor Jan Barham, who was one of the Tsunami fund-raising committee members, said: “Once again the generosity of our local community is coming to the fore. 

“As our hearts go out to the communities that have been affected by the disasters, we know that we can unite as a community and offer them the financial support to start rebuilding their lives.

“The group is encouraging other organisations and venues to participate on the day with events in all our communities, large or small, with proceeds included as one Byron Shire donation. 

“Byron Shire Council last week voted to donate $5000 to each of the States and will receive a report on further potential for support.”

Elke van Haandel, Operations Manager of the Beach Hotel, said: “We’re looking forward to making a big contribution to Australians in need. At the Beach Hotel, all locals and local business owners are encouraged to join in the community spirit on the day to raise funds.”

Peter Noble, director of Bluesfest, said: “Once more, our town comes together in a great time of need, made more poignant this time, as our efforts are for our fellow Australians.”