Rotary lends a hand at the Newcastle Lantern Festival

NEWCASTLE LANTERN FESTIVAL: Geoff and Bev Latona, Denise Dewar, Judy Richardson, Ian Dyball, Jan and Ian Mackenzie-Smith, Paul Dewar.
NEWCASTLE LANTERN FESTIVAL: Geoff and Bev Latona, Denise Dewar, Judy Richardson, Ian Dyball, Jan and Ian Mackenzie-Smith, Paul Dewar.

 

OUR local Myall Coast Rotary Club has celebrated the ‘Chinese New Year of the Dog’ by joining forces with fellow Rotarians in Newcastle and the Lower Hunter to help organise the recent Newcastle Lantern Festival.

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It’s a big job by any standard, lighting nearly two kilometres of Newcastle’s foreshore to guide the way for more than 20 thousand revellers.

‘’The participating Rotary Clubs were acting as organisers, marshals and as sellers in the many stalls selling solar-powered Chinese lanterns and stuffed toy dogs,” Rotary’s Ian Mackenzie Smith told News Of The Area.

“The local Rotary Club of Myall Coast participated by sending down nine Club members to help out on the day last month.”

The Lantern Walk had its origin in the 2015 Rotary International theme of ‘Light up Rotary’.

During the late afternoon and evening, visitors were entertained by performances from marching bands, acrobatic groups and many others.

The event came to a spectacular finish with a huge fireworks display over the harbour.

Funds raised from the Festival were donated to the Mission to Seafarers in Newcastle.

The Mission assists sailors visiting the Port of Newcastle with a ‘home away from home’ at the Seafarers Centre at Wickham.

Currently over 40,000 seafarers visit the Port of Newcastle and over 13,000 use the services offered by the Mission each year, with transport to the Centre, shopping, banking, healthcare and social and spiritual support.

The 2016 lantern walk raised money for a new upgrade to the kitchen at the Seafarers Centre.

This year’s event will also fund sleeper chairs which will allow the seafarers much needed rest while in port.

 

By Margie TIERNEY

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