Let there be light

By Riverine Herald

THERE’LL be parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting — and the folks at Illawarra Drive collecting funds for local charities.

That’s right, it’s the most wonderful time of the year and a treasured local tradition will once again light up Echuca.

The Illawarra neighbourhood Christmas lights charity collection will be on the four nights leading up to Christmas.

And will see collectors from the CWA, Echuca East Primary School and Echuca Lions Club rattle tins at the corner of Illawarra Dr and Butcher St.

In just 10 years, the popular event has raised more than $32,000 for local charities.

And instigator Greg Taylor said a lot of that came down to the street itself.

‘‘Illawarra Dr is perfect for fundraising, as you have to turn around to get out, so it creates this bottleneck,’’ Greg said.

‘‘One night 10 years ago I was watching the cars crawl past and said, ‘wouldn’t mind a dollar for every car’. And then I thought, hang on a second — we could use this for our community.’’

Organiser and Lions member John Simson said the real stars were the Illawarra neighbourhood.

‘‘At least 95 per cent of the homes end up decorated and it’s just spectacular. Resident Guy Fusti has been working for a week to put his lights up,’’ he said.

‘‘And seeing kids’ reactions on the night is just fantastic.’’

Mr Simson said if any other local groups wanted to fundraise on the night, they could give him a call.

‘‘We only request they supply two volunteers for each night and they must have insurance cover,’’ he said.

Sponsored by First National Real Estate Charles L King & Co Echuca, the event will be held every evening from Friday, December 21 to Monday, December 24.

To get involved, call John Simson on 5482 5401.