They say third time’s a charm. After two false starts thanks to the COVID19 pandemic, the Classic Wallabies finally made it Out West on the 23rd April and it was ‘game on’ to raise funds for Coonamble and District Education Foundation.
COONAMBLE AND DISTRICT EDUCATION FOUNDATION
The Coonamble and District Education Foundation was founded in 2004. Since inception, the volunteer run foundation has provided $380,000 in locally raised financial support to it’s regions youth to support access to post-school education. As a part of Country Education Foundation of Australia (CEF), the local foundation has also been able to access an additional $182,300 in direct funding for students through nationally sourced partnerships.
WORDS FROM THE COMMITTEE
Classics Out West was an event that was four and half years in the making.
After getting to within 3 weeks of this event in 2020, it had to be postponed due to COVID. The Coonamble CEF committee were thrilled to eventually pull it off on Saturday, April 23.
The people of Coonamble and the north west region were excited to have the opportunity to come together, socialise, enjoy entertaining rugby and support a very worthwhile cause.
The Coonamble & District Education Foundation partnered with many local committees to stage the day – Quota, Rotary, junior sports clubs – who all ensured the day went like clock work and that our long term goal of raising funds to support the local youth achieve their aspirations could come to fruition.
Emma Burns from national office with Secretary Coonamble foundation Mary Skuthorp and Treasurer Helen Rackham.
Whilst there was lots of fun had, the Country Education Foundation was the real winner.
The past recipients who returned to town to wait in the Touchline Marquee, work the bar and be interviewed on radio and speak to the marquee guests were all wonderful ambassadors for CEF and raised the foundation’s profile.
The air time given to our event on the ABC Western Plains and on channel 7 was also a wonderful spin-off, giving us the opportunity to champion the work of CEF.
Partnering with the Classic Wallabies and Wallaroos to promote the work of CEF and raise funds was a very worthwhile event. The positives were far reaching.
Coonamble & District Education Foundation
The weekend of festivities and football kicked off on the Friday night at the Coonamble Golf Club. Attendees enjoyed a BBQ fundraiser for the Coonamble Rams Rugby Club and ‘a meet and greet’ session with Classic Wallabies and Wallaroos squad members.
From set up to pack down, it was all hands on deck from the local foundation, community members and CEF Alumni in town for the event. They did the media rounds with Geoff Mann from ABC Rural and the local rag Coonamble Times, sold raffle and bar tickets and helped out in the marquee, all to raise funds for this great cause.
The Saturday was packed with plenty of activities to entertain attendees of all ages – big and small!
The morning was for the community’s kids, with the players holding a junior training clinic. Filled with drills, chaos and laughter, there is no doubt there were the talents of some future Wallabies and Wallaroos on show.
Once the kids cleared the field it was time for the games to get underway – four in all.
The Wallaroos and Western Plains Rugby Union Womens teams took to the field to get the day started. This was followed by matches between the Western Plains XV vs Coonamble Invitational, and a local derby between the Western Plains East Barbarians and Western Plains West Barbarians.
“A big congratulations to the hard working, passionate committee. The vibe on the day was heartwarming. It was all smiles after the game with the real winners being education, community and rural and regional youth, with all proceeds going to Coonamble & District Education Foundation.”
Emma Burns, Students & Education Partnerships CEF National seen here with CEF committee member Ron and silver sponsor representative Fugen Constructions.
CEF Alumni Lachie Barrett chatting to the crowd in the marquee.
Classic Wallaby #881, Nathan Charles led the fundraising formalities in the Marquee. He spoke with Coonamble and District Education Foundation Chair Ben Markey about the extraordinary impact the foundation has had on the youth of the region, and why the work is so important.
He also had a joke with past grant recipient and CEF Aspiration Influencer Lachie Barrett who spoke to the crowd about the difference the support he received has made for him. Lachie is now working as a teacher in Orange NSW, but is always keen to get involved and give back to the foundation that helped him achieve his education.
THE MAIN EVENT
If perhaps the show on the field wasn’t quite your thing but you were keen to support this fantastic fundraiser, the day featured a bar and plenty of food and an Auctions Plus game jersey live auction. And of course one of the best drawcards in recent times – the opportunity to be out and about and socialise with other people.
And then finally, the long awaited showdown – three years in the making. The Classic Wallabies vs Western Plains Rugby Union.
The games were played in the true spirit of the game, and the cause was well and truly the focus of the day. So much so, that we can’t even find any final scores published for bragging rights!