’Best of humanity’: Organisers not giving up on annual party
THE Special Children’s Christmas Party in Rockhampton will be delivered in a different way this year.
The annual event, which was set for Saturday, November 14, would have attracted about 4000 people to the Robert Schwarten Pavilion at the Rockhampton Showgrounds.
But due to COVID-19, organisers have had to adapt and will provide what is essentially a “drive-by party”.
The 1200 local special children who were invited have received special gift vouchers which they can exchange for Christmas gifts at the Robert Schwarten Pavilion on Friday and Saturday, November 13 and 14.
The usual entertainment will become part of a combined show that will appear online in early December.
Organiser Annemarie Hodson said even though the party would not go ahead, the children would not miss out.
“This year, of course, things are very different,” she said.
“Twenty-eight years I’ve been doing this… my heart and soul’s invested in this.
“I’ve literally sat down and cried this year because I feel like I’m not delivering what I want to the families and what we told the sponsors we would.
“But the overwhelming response has been one of understanding and full support for our decision.
“Everyone has been amazing.
“We’ve had to completely reinvent this event, and the majority of the people involved are just grateful that we are still doing something and not saying that it’s all too hard.”
Mrs Hodson said the parties, in their usual form, were wonderful occasions.
“I’ve met the most beautiful people and I could tell you heaps of stories that would make you cry,” she said.
“You look at the news every night and you see terrible things happening around the world and then, for three and a half hours every year in Rockhampton, you see the best of humanity – those people who come along and just give.
“There’s a great sense of community and a great sense of belonging.”