Zonta Hunter Newcastle holds local fundraiser in Tea Gardens

The raffle table, with proceeds going to Zonta’s work for women.

WOMEN’S and girl’s empowerment was the focus of the annual Zonta Hunter Newcastle fundraiser in Tea Gardens on Sunday, 7 May.

As melaleuca blossoms fell like autumn snowflakes, over 80 Zontians and visitors gathered to embrace the expertly paired wine tastings of Jac&Jones from the Hunter Valley with exquisite food from Taste Me Creative Catering.

“We have a lot of amazing tastings to get through,” Jacquie ‘Jac’ Christie told News Of The Area, referring to the catalogue including Jonesy’s Sparkling Brut, semillon, chardonnay, rosé, shiraz, botrytis, limoncello, and a delightful Moscato that tasted like a dreamy first date.

The effervescent Jac introduced each vintage’s backstory, as attendees enjoyed the mouth-watering morsels prepared by Taste Me’s Peter and Gillian, inside ‘Lovely’, the aptly christened and customised silver bus.

Adding to the fundraiser were Denise’s Australian-made ‘handy bags’, decorated with beautifully colourful designs and perfect for any occasion.

“The sale of these helped us get through the COVID isolations,” Denise told NOTA.

A little light rain hardly dampened the vibe as raffle prizes were awarded, to the collective sighs and cheers those hoping to snag one of the incredibly generous hampers, the lavender soap, the ‘mystery box’, or a gift certificate for ‘Helen’s on Engel’ B&B.

By 2pm, the ‘prodigal sun’ returned, igniting the petrichor as the gathering commenced the ‘long lunch’, featuring a delectable baked ham, chicken wings, veggie tarts, quiche, and the ‘drunken fruitcake’, soaked in Jac&Jones’ liqueur muscat.

“Today’s funds go directly to local needs, including scholarships for women at Hunter TAFE, and helping to protect domestic violence victims in the Newcastle/Hunter area,” Club President Kate Magee announced.

The ever-energetic Helen Blackbourn hosted the perfect, golden autumn afternoon of leisurely socialising, and all present were evidently sated and satisfied.

“Thanks to all, especially the most amazing support from the volunteers, including Jac&Jones, and we were all amazed by Taste Me’s incredible food,” Ms Blackbourn told NOTA.

“It was a wonderful day, made more wonderful by the people who came.”

By Thomas O’KEEFE

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