Thursday night last week was the night of our Christmas Dinner. It was a great chance for quilters and recipients to meet and greet each other. I welcomed around a dozen or more recipients, as well as more than thirty quilters and some of their husbands and partners into my home. After a week of violent dinner time storms we had a reprieve of sorts with no real storms but cool wet weather. At least that meant a safer trip for those who attended, some of whom came some distance to attend.
The atmosphere soon warmed up as the chatter increased
and people started to mix and mingle.
Caroline, aka Deputy Nut, came dressed for the occasion!
Robin who has threaded hundreds of laundry bags stitched by his wife Joan, had a great chat to Stephanie who has quilted over 150 quilts and Julie Ann who has also made hundreds of laundry bags. Julie Ann actually flew in from Adelaide to join us for the night, not a small thing seeing as she is also primary carer for her husband who has Multiple Sclerosis. Thanks for coming Julie Ann!
Maree W made her first visit to an Aussie Hero function
but she has been sewing for us for a while.
There were other quilters who we met for the first time but none were captured in the photos taken.
Michelle flew in from Melbourne as she has done for the last two Aussie Hero Christmas Dinners.
Caroline brought her mum who has been making great laundry bags for us this year.
These two, a cheeky husband and wife team, are very much part of the Aussie Hero Family since becoming recipients and then going on to get involved in a number of ways, most notably arranging the wonderful day we all had at RAAF Base Richmond a couple of months ago.
People brought plates of food to share and there was sumptuous feast to take part in. If anyone went home hungry I would be very surprised.
On the night I published a version of the message that CMDR Morrison shared with those who were present..
Chaplain Mark, one of the first chaplains I worked with when he was deployed, was kind enough to read out the message sent by the chaplain on the soon to be home HMAS Toowoomba.
Our chaplain from HMAS Melbourne was also kind enough to attend and read the message sent by CAPT Justin Jones, the captain of our latest ship, HMAS Success.
Finally I said a few words….
Desert followed the speeches and we were again spoilt for choice. I don’t have a photo of all of them but we had delicious cheesecake, mini chocolate mousses, fabulous Christmas puddings and much more.
Quilters and recipients enjoyed the opportunity to mix and mingle. Here Kiwi Karen and Carolyn enjoyed a chat with CMDR Morrison.
Carole J and Stephanie T
Kim M and Julie An
Caroline and Chaplain Mark with some selfie action!
Quilters and recipients weren’t the only guests who attended the dinner. There was indeed a celebrity laundry bag in attendance too – I understand he got up to a bit of mischief!! No doubt we will hear more about that in the near future.
Judging from the feedback I have received everyone had a good time and enjoyed the opportunity to mix with other quilters or recipients. I know some of the recipients were delighted to catch up with those they had been deployed with. I certainly loved meeting more people, recipients I had exchanged copious emails with and quilters I had not met before. My apologies to the quilters I had not met before who I hardly had a chance to speak. Hopefully next time we will be more able to chat.
In closing I thought I would share just part of my speech from the night.
I want to extend my heartfelt thank you to all of you. Thank you to the quilters and laundry bag makers and to their husbands and partners as well. So many of you give your time continuously and your contribution should not be undervalued. In fact it doesn’t matter what you contribute to Aussie Heroes. The important thing is that you contribute. It is all fine and beaut for me to have a dream and a plan but without you to help bring it to fruition I could achieve nothing.
Thank you also to the recipients who made the effort to attend and especially to those who have made the decision to get involved and help out. Whether it be allowing me to seek advice on certain issues, coming along to help pack boxes or help improve the Aussie Heroes computer system (Much work and patience required for that one let me tell you!) Your contribution, even if just boosting my morale and reminding me that it is indeed ALL WELL WORTH IT…. What you do counts and means a lot of me in particular.
Till next time…………………keep spreading the word and happy stitching!