Charity wool auction raises more than $55,000

A charity wool auction staged by Quality Wool this week has raised more than $55,000 for Ronald McDonald House Westmead in Sydney.

The auction comprised about 11,000 kilograms of wool donated by more than 100 growers from the Riverina and Central and Western regions of New South Wales through to Quality Wool’s stores at Parkes, Orange and Wagga Wagga.

The wool was put under the hammer at the Australian Wool Exchange southern selling centre in Melbourne, with major buyers including Victorian Wool Processors, Modiano Australia and Chinatex.

The Quality Wool ‘Wool Drive’ to raise funds for Ronald McDonald House Westmead commenced in June. In addition to receiving donations at the stores, Quality Wool staff visited farms to collect wool for the charity auction and the company committed to press and auction the wool free of charge. The Australian Wool Testing Authority also tested the wool for free.

Chris Scott of Quality Wool said donated wool was received from as far as Bourke and Gulargambone, as well as Orange, Parkes, Forbes, Condobolin, Grenfell, Wagga Wagga, Lake Cargelligo and most places in between.

He said feedback about the company’s ‘Wool Drive’ from growers had continued to be very positive. A number of donor growers watched the auction live via skype and were treated to morning tea and lunch at Quality Wool’s Parkes store.

The charity auction has been running for three years and has now raised more than $150,000 for Ronald McDonald House Westmead, which provides a “home away from home’’ for families with children who either require medical attention or to attend appointments at the Children’s Hospital Westmead.

Relying heavily on community fundraising and volunteers, it supported more than 600 families last year, however, unfortunately being at full capacity, it also turned away an estimated 300 families.

Michelle Burman, Events and Community Coordinator with Ronald McDonald House Westmead, said the charity auction was a testament to the rural community’s generosity.

“Times are tough, but to think that their generosity has continued for all these years blows us away. I’ve got goose bumps. Their generosity is just heart-warming, so from our hearts to theirs – thank you,’’ Michelle said.

She said the cheque for more than $55,000 would effectively keep a family in a room at Ronald McDonald House Westmead for a whole year.

Meanwhile, Ronald McDonald House Westmead is set to commence the building of a new 60-room house in January that will help facilitate the ever-growing needs of families who require accommodation, care and support. It is expected to be completed next August.