The Geelong community has raised over $40,000 for the Salvation Army National Bushfire Appeal during a three-day campaign spearheaded by Geelong Connected Communities and three of its key Partners.

GCC Supporters – Royal Geelong Yacht Club, AWA Alliance Bank and Harwood Andrews – have rallied to establish a ‘Bushfire Donations Account’ in which the three organisations pledged to match donations from the public, dollar for dollar, over the Festival of Sails weekend staged on Geelong’s Waterfront.

The appeal coincided with the RGYC’s decision to cancel its annual Australia Day Fireworks show during the Festival of Sails – out of respect for the tens of thousands of fire victims and Australia’s volunteer firefighters.

The money previously allotted for the fireworks spectacular was instead injected into the bushfire relief effort.

GCC Director John Fitzgerald said all the organisations involved were delighted with the result of the fundraiser, especially given the short timeframe to pull the effort together.

“We would really like to acknowledge the generosity of the GCC partner organisations – RGYC, Harwood Andrews and AWA Alliance Bank – for donating to this worthy cause,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

“We are really pleased to be able to work together to support those going through such hardship.”

The contributing organisation’s representatives – Festival of Sails Chairman, Stuart Dickson, GCC Director Tracy Carter, Harwood Andrews Partner Justin Hartnett and AWA Alliance Bank’s Steve Jackson – handed over a cheque to the Salvation Army for $41,555.80 during the week.

All funds raised will go to the Salvation Army National Bushfire Appeal, with 100 per cent of all donations going directly to those families and communities impacted by the fires.

Mr Dickson said it was heartening to see the level of support shown by the Geelong community for such an important cause.

“We want to thank GCC, Harwood Andrews, AWA Alliance Bank and the Geelong community for their support in this fantastic fundraising initiative in response to the bushfire tragedies,” Mr Dickson said.

Tens of thousands of people flocked to the Geelong Waterfront over the Australia Day long weekend to celebrate the Festival of Sails regatta, which was again sponsored by Geelong Connected Communities. 

“We are very pleased with our ongoing partnership with Geelong Connected Communities,” Mr Dickson said.

“The Waterfront Festival was a resounding success this year with tens of thousands of people enjoying live music, food and entertainment across the three days,” he said.

“We look forward to building on this success and making next year’s Waterfront Festival an even better experience.”