WOW!  Well, I might be a bit biased but what a weekend.  I still haven’t stopped though today I hope to finally get this blog post written. 

The Annual Thank You Weekend would not happen without the help of a whole team of people and most importantly, the organising committee of Susie, Kym and Michelle! They worked so hard and I could not be more grateful for their help.

The dinner, in particular, would not have come off without the help of CAPT Phill Henry and his fabulous team, especially LCDR Ben Robinson and CPO Michael Wratten.    We needed sponsorship to make the dinner affordable and these three fellows worked magic to make sure we got it. 

Huge thanks to our three generous sponsors too. 

Our tables on the night looked outrageously gorgeous thanks to the Maestro CPO Crystal  and his offsider our very own CPO Cath. 

Thanks to Bev U for her work finishing off all the table centres.

Don’t you lovve the little laundry bags in the domes!!!  Inspired but that is Crystal!

Huge thanks also to the wonderful Lancer Band.   They welcomed us into the Dining Rooms at Old Parliament House and even brought their laundry bags to show off.  LOVE that!

Once everyone arrived and found their seats our wonderful MC, the Principal Air Chaplain Mark called all to attention and started the formalities off.   Mark gave the acknowledgement of country and then Chaplain Troy said grace… one he wrote just for us.  A number of you wanted to have a copy of it so here it is. 

May every stitch be sewn in grace
And every thread in love
Might the hands that have quilted for our troops
Be blessed from God above. 

In Jesus name ……Amen.

Next think you know it was time for my speech.  You can read it here if you wish.  I also surprised the totally unsuspecting WOFF-AF Rob Swanwick with a quilt and you can see photos of that in the other post as well. 

Our wonderful MC introduced our next speaker CAPT Roz…..

a nurse who served in Iraq on deployment. 

Our second speaker was Terry Acreman.  Terry and his wife, Heather, lost their son Cameron, whilst he was on deployment with HMAS Darwin in the Middle East.  They have three Aussie Hero Quilts. One was sent to Cameron for his deployment. One was given to Terry and Heather once Cameron had passed and the third was the Fallen Warrrior Quilt which I presented them on the wharf after the decommissioning ceremony of HMAS Darwin.  As hard as it was, Terry and Heather told me at the end of the night that they had been determined to get through the speech to make sure that our volunteers knew how much those quilts mean to them.  

After the speeches and after we had eaten our delicious entre and mains it was time for the Auction.  We had some great auction items…..

and a terrific auctioneer, Alec Brown!

 Navy Canteens donated a beautiful Navy Ceremonial Sword and all the accutrements to go with it.  How amazing. 

Remembrance artist from Britain, Jacquline Hurley, donated a signed print from The War Poppy Series to our Auction. Like many of the auction items it was masterfully modeled by the awesome Ben Farinazzo.

This beautiful Australian Quilt was made by Melissa L and I love the colours and the inclusion of the water tank and the windmill.

This time Ben was aided by fellow auction model, the lovely Tyson!

In the end the successful bidder was Lou Hupfeld, who also won a holiday at a beach house AND the right to commission a laundry bag. I look forward to learning what she would like on that laundry bag. 

Next up was the Aussie Sports Stars Quilt designed by Gail M

and it was won by this gorgeous family, seen here with Gail on the right… 

The second last quilt to be auctioned was the Aussie Notables and the Briliant Brit Quilt also designed by Gail.

Another vrey happy winner carried it off… 

We also auctioned off the right to commission a quilt which was won by a very happy WOFF-AF Rob Swanwick…. especially happy as he has been trying to win this quilt for three years now!  I am so happy for him. 

The Command Warrant Officer from HMAS Ballarat travelled from Perth to attend the dinner and hopefully had some space in his luggage when he headed home as he had an armful of goodies… including the beautiful raffle quilt and two of the bears!

The Vice Chief of the Defence Force and his wife were pretty chuffed with the goodies they were taking home including the jersey and that sword. 

WOFF-AF Rob Swanwick and his wife Lisa (who was my co-conspirator with the quilt I made for him) won the beautiful shawl hand made by the very clever Leddy Rowe.

We had some amazing Live and Auction items… too many to list but special mention to Sue N for the AWESOME handmade Chess set, Janice for the furry bears and Raeleen W for the very popular camo bears!!  Thank you to everyone who donated items for the auctions… your support is so very much appreciated. 

Raeleen’s gorgeous bears…. 

These three gorgeous military busts donated by the HMA Kuttabul Welfare and there was also a bottle of Decommissioning Port donated by a member of the decommissioning crew! Thank you!

Janis’ gorgeous furry bears and two jars of my ANZACs. 

Thanks to everyone who brought quilts and laundry bags for display and HUGE HUGE thanks to those that spent the time hanging them… it was not an easy job but made all the difference to the look of the room. People from a function next door were sneaking in to take photos of the quilts before we started. 

Special thanks to Raylee for borrowing the frames from the Canberra Quilters and also to Susie and Kerry who collected and transported the quilt frames from the Maitland Patchwork and Quilters. 

I am really afraid of trying to list everyone who came to help set up and who helped to pull everything down at the end of the night  but we couldn’t have done it without all of you! Much much appreciated. 

In the next couple of days I will share a bunch of the photos from the night – many thanks to Drew and Raylee for doing a great job with them.  You will be able to tell me if you would like a high res copy of any of them and I will email them to you. 

Till next time… keep spreading the word and happy stitching!

Jan-Maree xx