The six local couples who bravely stepped out onto the dancefloor may have all been stars, but the big winner at Saturday’s night’s Dancing with the Stars event was Gwydir Industries.
The sold-out event saw more than 340 people pack into Moree Town Hall for a fantastic night of entertainment.
While the fundraising total is yet to be finalised, Gwydir Industries president Peter Weal said it’s in excess of $80,000, making this year’s event the most successful yet.
“The community once again exceeded our expectations; the support was fantastic,” he said.
“The support of donors of auction and raffle items, coupled with the generosity of the buyers, it’s been a really successful night for Gwydir Industries.”
Most of the funds were raised from the raffles and charity auction, which saw items such as a side-by-side gator, contract farming from Oodnadatta Farms, a dinner at Parliament House with Adam Marshall and a large compressor from Joff Carrington sell for considerable amounts.
The car raffle also helped boost the fundraising this year. The Carol family were the lucky winners of the brand new Holden Barina Spark.
A big surprise and highlight of the evening was when the mystery celebrity judge, John Paul Young, was revealed.
The crowd went wild when the Australian singer came onstage singing his hit single Love is in the air.
He then performed Yesterday’s Hero, while Gwydir Industries clients Jillian Campbell and Adam Love danced alongside him.
This is the first time there has been a celebrity judge for Dancing with the Stars and Mr Weal said it’s going to be a hard act to follow.
The feature of the night was the dancing competition which saw the six local couples wow the audience with their well-thought-out, entertaining routines.
“They were absolutely outstanding,” Mr Weal said.
“So much hard work went into it.
“The community just can’t thank the commitment of these dancers enough for the effort they put into the night with their routines.”
Byron Birch and Kendall Tait won the Judges Award, receiving the highest score from this year’s judges – John Paul Young, Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall and previous dancer Vanessa Parkes.
Della Barnes and Mark Cotter were the crowd favourites, winning the People’s Choice Award, only just beating Oscar and Susannah Pearse.
“It was hard to pick, they were all so good,” Mr Weal said.
Mr Weal said the money raised at this year’s event will go a long way in helping Gwydir Industries continue its great work in the community.
“It ensures the purchase of a new engraving machine because the trophy business is just so critical for Gwydir Industries and the workers,” he said.
“We will do some more building work at the premises to ensure the viability of Gwydir Industries, but also the safety of employees there. It’s an old building that continually needs to be upgraded.
“We’re just so thrilled we can do a few of these jobs thanks to the support of community.”