There is something really special when a community works together for a cause which benefits itself.

In 2019 I asked Hospice Otago if there was anything I could do to assist them and the idea was suggested of a fundraising dinner with various donated items or services being auctioned off.

After Pioneer Energy came on board as a major sponsor, the dinner was held at Paulinas in Clyde and raised $13,000, which was superb.

In 2020, the numbers attending expanded and the venue shifted to The Packing Shed and raised $15,000.

This year, the numbers attending the dinner expanded a little more and on the evening of October 14 at The Packing Shed more than $26,000 was raised.

All this money will be used by the staff of Hospice Central Otago to provide free services to all those that need them in one of the most difficult periods of their, or their family’s, lives.

Government funding is such that nearly $3 million needs to be raised in Otago each year to keep on meeting the increased demand.

The success of the evening was due to a few vital factors: The generosity of individuals or companies in our area to donate services or goods; the generosity of attendees at the dinner to bid on those goods; the large amount of work done over a significant period of time by the team at Pioneer Energy and Hospice Otago in talking to those that might support a good cause; a great night’s food and wines; and first class entertainers.

This year, Jonathan Usher both baffled and amused the crowd of 90 with his hilarious magical patter and repartee, while in between, Peter Hishon used his skills as an auctioneer to ensure that every donated item achieved top dollar.

An overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound for two attracted the most interest, finally getting the hammer fall at $2500, with the other 24 items or packages often reaching well over $1000.

We in Central Otago are blessed by having some of the country’s best dining experiences and The Packing Shed once again came up with both a spectacular venue and superb food.

We have also once again demonstrated our ability and enthusiasm to support a cause that is so worthy.

— Russell Garbutt, former Vincent Community Board deputy chairman