Bay Hotel Motel at Bonnells Bay donates $20,000 for fire and farm recovery efforts

YOU BEAUTY: Peninsula Rural Fire Brigade members celebrate their $10,000 windfall with Bay Hotel Motel publican Peter Cullen and patron Bruce Clark on Thursday. Picture: David Stewart
YOU BEAUTY: Peninsula Rural Fire Brigade members celebrate their $10,000 windfall with Bay Hotel Motel publican Peter Cullen and patron Bruce Clark on Thursday. Picture: David Stewart

Bay Hotel Motel patrons and publican Peter Cullen have donated $20,000 to help with bushfire and drought recovery efforts.

Peninsula Rural Fire Brigade was the major beneficiary, receiving a cheque for $10,000 at the hotel, in Bonnells Bay, on Thursday night.

The Salvation Army received $7000 to be distributed among bushfire victims.

And $3000 was given to the Buy-a-Bale program to help farmers impacted by drought.

Publican Peter Cullen said the hotel and its patrons had been keen to help people in need.

It started with some collection tins on the bar, but quickly grew into something more substantial.

"Some people were throwing in their loose change, but some people were putting in a lot more than that," Mr Cullen said.

Pretty soon, the fund-raising became a community-wide project, he said.

Hotel patron and former Western Suburbs rugby league player Bruce 'Bruiser' Clark played an important role in selling raffle tickets at the pub for the cause on Friday nights, Mr Cullen said.

APPRECIATED: Peninsula Rural Fire Brigade captain Rob Bruinink with Bruce Clark, left, and publican Peter Cullen, at the Bay Hotel Motel on Thursday. Picture: David Stewart

APPRECIATED: Peninsula Rural Fire Brigade captain Rob Bruinink with Bruce Clark, left, and publican Peter Cullen, at the Bay Hotel Motel on Thursday. Picture: David Stewart

Mr Clark said it was the generous hotel patrons who bought tickets, and businesses who provided the raffle prizes, who deserved a rap.

"A big thanks must go to Peter White from Black Pepper Butchery, at the Bonnells Bay Shopping Centre, for donating the meat for every raffle," Mr Clark said.

Mr Cullen also invited the pub's social golf and fishing clubs to pitch in.

"They run their own raffles, week to week, and when I approached them to see if they'd like to make a contribution, they didn't hesitate to give us the proceeds of their raffles, too," he said.

Mr Cullen told patrons the hotel would match the patrons' donations, dollar-for-dollar, up to $15,000.

The patrons raised about $6000, but the hotel decided to donate the balance required to boost the total raised to $20,000, he said.

Captain of the Peninsula Rural Fire Brigade, Rob Bruinink, said he was stunned by the generosity of the hotel's donation.

"I just thought 'how amazing!'," he said.

He said the brigade was likely to use the money to buy much-needed power tools for its trucks, as well as 12 specialised rechargeable torches, with charging docks, valued at about $5000.

The torches would be able to handle the hot temperatures encountered by the Rural Fire Service volunteers in the field, and they wouldn't spark in conditions where flammable gases were a threat, he said.

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