HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Regular raffle-ticket seller Barry Saxby was given a surprise presentation to mark his 80th birthday by many of the punters at the Shaws Bay Hotel in Ballina who have bought raffle tickets from him. He’s been selling raffle tickets “for the kiddies” since 1975.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Regular raffle-ticket seller Barry Saxby was given a surprise presentation to mark his 80th birthday by many of the punters at the Shaws Bay Hotel in Ballina who have bought raffle tickets from him. He’s been selling raffle tickets “for the kiddies” since 1975. Graham Broadhead

Raise your glass for king of the raffles

IF YOU'VE been to a pub in Ballina since 1975, there is every chance Barry Saxby has sold you a raffle ticket.

The fundraising machine with the shuffling gait and wit drier than the Simpson Desert always tells the punters the money raised is "for the kiddies".

And more often than not, those who didn't bag the meat tray are told they didn't win because the prize went "to a pretty lady".

Barry turned 80 on January 20 and a crew of regulars at his latest haunt, the Shaws Bay Hotel, got together to put on a birthday bash and present Barry with a plaque.

Barry has sold thousands of raffle tickets and raised thousands of dollars over the years for local organisations like the surf lifesaving club, hockey club, cricket club, soccer club and the Ballina Athletics Club.

He's walked the floors of the Lobster Pot, the Hotel Henry Rous, the Ballina Hotel and the Shawsy.

He said he "didn't like" selling tickets when he began, having moved from Young to take up a teaching position at Ballina High School.

But the regular sales "just became part of me", Barry said.

"Money is handy (for sporting clubs)," he said.

And he said he enjoyed helping the clubs out.

Philip Lewien, the spokesman for the crew who bought Barry the plaque, jokes that if there was a gathering of more than two people, "Barry will set up a card table of meat trays and sell recycled raffle ticket stubs".

"He will pull a ticket from a hat, pick a marble or spin a weighted wheel - and he's also been known to pull a couple of winning tickets from his pocket," Mr Lewien said.



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