Home' Navy News : February 4th 2010 Contents NAVY NEWS
February 4, 2010
By Michael Brooke
THE Christmas wishes of scores of disabled children
were granted by the big-hearted ship's company of
HMAS Newcastle (CMDR Justin Jones) during the
The wishes of children at the Hunter Orthopaedic
School were answered when Newcastle's successful
charity project, 'Op Think Big', delivered a new Ford
Transit bus worth $50,000.
The children cheered and clapped excitedly when
Santa, aka SWO Rob Drew, drove the new mini bus
into the playground on December 4.
The teaching staff said Newcastle's gift was a
"Christmas dream come true" -- the bus will be put to
good use to transport the students to and from school,
and for excursions.
Newcastle's ship's company raised the money for its
adopted charity through sponsorship from collectively
running, walking, riding and travelling the 21,125km
distance between Newcastle in Australia and Newcastle
in the United Kingdom.
CMDR Jones said Op Think Big marked the most
ambitious fundraising effort the ship had ever under-
"Every officer and sailor in the ship got behind Op
Think Big and we've managed to exceed our target of
raising $50,000," he said.
More than a quarter of the funds raised came direct-
ly from the pockets of the ship's company -- an excep-
tional achievement for 190 people.
ABCIS Kristy Gallagher said she ran 14km each
day from her home to Fleet Base East to help raise
money and contribute to the distance milestone.
"It was a lot of fun; made all the more worthwhile
by the expressions of joy and happiness on the chil-
dren's faces," she said.
ABMT Andrew Davis said he contributed to the
fundraising by buying raffle tickets and clocking up
kilometres on the running machine in Newcastle's
"To see the joy on the children's faces after all the
hard work we've done really is a Christmas dream
come true for all of us," he said.
A total of $53,188 was raised through the auction-
ing of sporting memorabilia during a black tie event in
Newcastle during her port visit to Newcastle in August,
sausage sizzles, the raffle of a large screen television,
donations and much generosity from the general pub-
lic. The school was also presented with a cheque for
$2500 and the remaining money will be placed into
a fund and used for general maintenance around the
Newcastle adopted the Hunter Orthopaedic School
as her charity upon commissioning in 1993 and each
year has conducted fundraising activities to support the
school, which caters for the education of students from
pre-school to Year 12 with physical and intellectual dis-
Newcastle delivers Christmas wish
GREAT EFFORT: ABCSO Kirsty Gallagher (left)
and SMNCIS Brooke Thompson present a trophy
and certificate to Alexandra Robertson at the
Hunter Orthopaedic School in Newcastle.
(Above) LEUT David Eyles presents a certificate to
Photos: ABIS Peter Thompson
DRIVE SAFE!: (Above) Santa and HMAS
Newcastle's CO CMDR Justin Jones present a
cheque for $2500 and the keys to a new school
bus to Alison Sellers.
(Below) AB David Gouge presents a trophy to
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