Cocktail party celebrates 60 years of Winter Relief Appeal

Pillars of the Launceston community came together at Penny Royal on Friday night to toast 60 years of The Examiner’s Winter Relief Appeal.

A cocktail party was held to celebrate the contribution of the appeal and also raise awareness of those in need.

There was no shortage of generosity on the night, with guests digging deep during a special auction.

The function featured speeches from representatives of City Mission, the Launceston Chamber of Commerce and The Examiner, all of which collaborate in the appeal each year.

Launceston Chamber of Commerce president Tim Holder said the appeal had always had a strong foundation in the town.

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“It’s tremendous to see The Examiner playing a critical leadership role, both in reporting the what’s occurring within our not-for-profit sector, but also advocating loudly for the interest of the less well off,” he said.

“This follows on the great traditions established by the Reverend John West - the first editor of The Examiner, who spoke out against deportation.

“Whilst we see boom and bust cycles across the decades, there is always one certainty – we have vulnerable people suffering from extreme poverty, abuse, homelessness and dislocation.”

His sentiments were echoed by City Mission chief executive Stephen Brown, who reflected on the ongoing need for the appeal.

“I think it’s important to share where we have come from, because everything starts small,” he said.

“It’s only as we see many years of service through philanthropy to causes in our community that something can develop to have an influence beyond a normal lifetime.”

Funds from the Winter Relief Appeal support the Benevolent Society, St Vincent de Paul, the Salvation Army, and City Mission.

The appeal began in 1958 to complement the Empty Stocking Fund, which had turned 50 years old that year.

Fairfax Tasmania managing editor Mark Baker said its benefits had long since extended beyond financial contributions

"These twin appeals have supported the Northern Tasmanian community in many ways: the obvious one being financial," Baker said.

"Over the years, the Winter Relief Appeal has received and distributed millions of dollars. That is something we are very proud of. 

"But it’s not just the money. It has supported the community in other, often, intangible ways such as generating community spirit, generosity and goodwill."

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