Heaven Can Wait breaks record

SUCCESS: Pictured at the Heaven Can Wait cheque presentation are, from left, RMYCT Commodore Graham Parr, John Hatton, Sue Russell, Greg Piper and Mel Steiner. Picture: Jamieson Murphy
SUCCESS: Pictured at the Heaven Can Wait cheque presentation are, from left, RMYCT Commodore Graham Parr, John Hatton, Sue Russell, Greg Piper and Mel Steiner. Picture: Jamieson Murphy
SUCCESS: Pictured at the Heaven Can Wait cheque presentation are, from left, RMYCT Commodore Graham Parr, John Hatton, Sue Russell, Greg Piper and Mel Steiner. Picture: Jamieson Murphy

SUCCESS: Pictured at the Heaven Can Wait cheque presentation are, from left, RMYCT Commodore Graham Parr, John Hatton, Sue Russell, Greg Piper and Mel Steiner. Picture: Jamieson Murphy

LAST year's charity sailing regatta, Heaven Can Wait, raised $39,000 - the most in the event's eight-year history.

The money was presented last Wednesday to the Hunter Central Coast Cancer Council in a ceremony at Royal Motor Yacht Club Toronto (RMYCT), which hosted the event for the first time last year.

The Cancer Council's community programs co-ordinator, Sue Russell, said the $34,000 would be used to fund a home help program to support cancer patients once they leave hospital.

"What [the event organisers] really wanted to see happen with the money raised was for it to be spent in the local area, in a way that best supported cancer patients," she said.

"I went around to the social departments of the major treatment centres and said 'If you had a wish list, what would be at the top?' and they said, hands down, home help."

Lake Macquarie Marine Rescue received $5000, which unit commander John Hatton said would go a long way.

"Many people don't realise we don't receive any government funding, so we really rely and appreciate donations like these," he said.

Independent Member for Lake Macquarie Greg Piper praised event founder Shaun Lewicki's initiative to not only come up with a great idea, but to follow through with it.

"We have a generous community out there and it's fantastic," he said.

Notwithstanding the success of last year's event, sailing master Mel Steiner believes RMYCT can do even better.

He announced the Heaven Can Wait regatta will be part of a larger regatta week on Lake Macquarie.

The event would feature a series of regattas in the week leading up to Australia Day, 2015.

While it is still in the early days of planning, Lake Macquarie Yacht Club has agreed to participate in the week-long celebration of sailing and Mr Steiner hopes other clubs will also jump on board.

"One of the things Shaun Lewicki wanted to do, in addition to raise money for cancer, was to promote sailing on the lake and Lake Macquarie," Mr Steiner said.

"The fund-raising part of it we're doing OK, what we need to do is focus on sailing and promoting Lake Macquarie," he said.

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