There’s little wonder why the Mates4Mates charity was selected to receive a record donation from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Associates Committee.
The Associates committee, which has been raising funds for more than 10 years, produced a record $4,200 in donations from the annual Christmas hamper raffle.
President Pam Messenger said the Committee unanimously supported donating the cash to the Mates4Mates charity, which supports wounded, injured and ill Defence personnel.
Aptly, the charity is fielding a team of returned soldiers aboard the Volvo Ocean 60 Spirit of Mateship in this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
The yacht’s skipper, Russell McCart, who has competed in 12 Sydney Hobart’s, was thrilled to receive the cheque.
“They’ve been blown up, some of these guys have been shot, they’ve been in Black Hawk (helicopter) crashes,’’ McCart said.
“The military’s a reasonably insular place as it is, and when you’re wounded, you tend to withdraw more into that group.
“So what we’re trying to do is show there’s another side of life - there’s things outside the military - and introduce them to a broader range of people.
“Most have been overjoyed, and a couple have said this (the Rolex Sydney Hobart) has been on their bucket list.”
Mrs Messenger said the donation was even timelier, following this week’s announcement that the last Australian troops have been withdrawn from Afghanistan.
“The announcement that the troops are coming back has really hit home, and there is a realisation that the guys need that support,” she said.
By Danielle McKay, RSHYR Media