OCTOBER 20, 2013: The record-breaking Channel 7 Perth Telethon has been studded with highlights that tugged on the heart strings and set the adrenaline racing. The annual appeal has now raised $154 million!
Headline performances from Tina Arena on the opening night and a host of Australian entertainers got big crowds at the Perth Entertainment and Convention Centre up on their feet, while the plucky Little Telethon stars, Tahlia Polmear and Jack Day charmed audiences everywhere.
The amazing 26 hours live-on-air weekend saw more than 300 TV production crew at work; more than 200 lights; 60 plus microphones; 55 hair and make-up artists; more than 600 entertainers; 90 Virgin Australia flights and more than 1,000 volunteers which made the Telethon weekend the most successful ever.
There were plenty of major donations from the big end of town, but as always it was the generosity of the people of Western Austra that shone through the most in the huge 2013 total of $20,701,272 raised over the weekend compared to last year’s $16.8 million and brings the total raised since 1968 to $154,469,900.
The first major announcement came from Prime Minister Tony Abbott who committed a Federal Government donation of $2 million.
Premier Colin Barnett handed over a cheque for $500,000 from the State Government on behalf of all West Australians and party goers at The Lexus Ball raised an unbelievable $558,000.
But the weekend belonged to the 2013 Little Telethon stars – Tahlia Polmear from Esperance and Jack Day from Karrinyup, who stole the audiences hearts.
This year Tahlia and Jack designed a pendant with Perth jeweller, Solid Gold. At the Lexus Ball, the pendant was worn by Perth singer Samantha Jade who performed at the ball and $42,000 was raised for the stunning piece of jewellery.
For the second year running there was a Social Media Café which saw many celebrities wander in to join the Twitter and Facebook feeds and interact live with fans.
On Friday of the Telethon weekend, Wesfarmers announced a $5 million Telethon donation over four years to help attract top child health researchers to WA.
Andrew and Nicola Forrest and their newly formed Minderoo Foundation pledged to match each dollar donated for the first five hours of Telethon which saw the tally board climb another million dollars at 11.30pm on Saturday.
Perth businessman, Tim Roberts who last year became Telethon’s newest Million Dollar Partner, donated $1.5 million this year.
The McCusker Charitable Foundation generously donated $1 million again.
Bankwest donated $285,000 from a variety of activities through the year.
The Team Spencer Ball raised more than $100,000.
On Sunday Melissa Doyle and Brynne Edelsten joined Rick Ardon at the 2013 Honeywood Telethon home by In-Vogue auction which saw a buyer pay $700,000 for the stunning home.
This year Crown Perth came on board again as a sponsor of In It To Win It where personalities participated in a series of challenges which saw CEO Barry Felstead suprised everybody by doubling the $1 million at the last minute handing over a cheque for $2 million and Crown Perth owner James Packer handed over a personal cheque for $500,000.
To cap off another successful Telethon weekend, Executive Chairman of Seven West Media, Mr Kerry Stokes generously contributed $1.5 million on behalf of his private company Australian Capital Equity.
Channel Nine Perth even joined in generously donating $100,000 as did The Rhonda Wyllie Foundation.
The Telethon Adventurers Ice Marathon team ran for 24 hours non-stop in a cool room at minus 4 degrees with Peard Real Estate donating $40,000.
Other significant donations included:
Telethon General Manager, Steve Mummery was blown away by the staggering amount raised over the weekend. “Western Australians continue to astound me with their generosity which has created the highest donating Telethon (per capita) in the world – something we should all be very proud of,” he said.
The audience in the PCEC theatre and on Channel 7 was entertained by an incredible array of talented performers such as Tina Arena, Casey Barnes, Samantha Jade, The Collective, Bella Ferraro, Keeda, The Harlem Globetrotters, Diesel, Johnny Ruffo, Nathaniel Willemse, Reece Mastin, Lilam Burrows, Paulini, Merchants of Bollywood and two of the Top 12 in this year’s The X Factor, JTR and Omar Dean.
A huge line-up of Seven Network talent flew in from Around Australia including David Berry (James Bligh), Arianwen Parkes-Lockwood (Olivia Bligh), Abby Earl (Anna Bligh) and Aldo Mignone ( Gino Poletti) from A Place to Call Home; Rob Palmer from Better Homes and Gardens; Brynne Edelsten from My Bedazzled Life; Kassandra Clementi (Maddy Osbourne), Demi Harman (Sasha Bezmel), Andrew Morley (Spencer Harrington); Lynne McGranger (Irene Roberts), Kelly Paterniti (Tamara Kingsley), Nic Westaway (Kyle Braxton), Tai Hara (Andy Barrett) and Charlie Clausen (Zac Macguire) from Home and Away; Melissa Doyle and Jim Wilson from Channel Seven News; Teigan Nash and Nathan Morgan from Saturday Disney; Toby Truslove from SlideShow; Chris Bath from Sunday Night; Natalie Barr, Edwina Bartholomew, Mark Beretta, Samantha Armytage, Molly Meldrum and David Koch from Sunrise ; Larry Emdur and Glenn Wheeler from The Morning Show; Virginia Gay (Frances James), Sarah Grace (Bridget Gross), Paul Moore (Wes Fitzpatrick) and Damien Bodie (Jonathan Kurtiss) from Winners and Losers and George Houvardas and Ian Dickson.
Local contestants were also there – Ben and Jemma from House Rules; Josh and Andi from My Kitchen Rules; Ntula MacDonald from Beauty and the Geek and Jayke McGill from The X Factor.
They were joined by our very own Seven Perth stars – Rick Ardon, Susannah Carr, Basil Zempilas, Adrian Barich, Angela Tsun, Monika Kos, Blake Johnson, Kate Smithers, Mark Gibson, Graeme Butler, David Cooper, Geof Parry, Alexis Donkin, Ryan Daniels, Jessica Vanderende, , Chris Young, Chanelle Toohey, Alison Fan, Natalie Bonjolo, Cassie Silver and Tina Altieri.
Plus many of Perth’s radio personalities from Mix 94.5, 92.9, Nova 93.7, 6PR, ABC720, 96FM and 6iX.
Images courtesy of Viva Life Photography