STUNNED: Reunion organising committee members (from left) Hilda Hardy, Adam Henderson, Marie Humphrey, Dr Richard Gates and Lill Colless with volunteers pouring a concrete slab at the base of a commemorative rock garden for the October long weekend reunion.
STUNNED: Reunion organising committee members (from left) Hilda Hardy, Adam Henderson, Marie Humphrey, Dr Richard Gates and Lill Colless with volunteers pouring a concrete slab at the base of a commemorative rock garden for the October long weekend reunion. Jamie Brown

Reunion hopes down over high fees

VOLUNTEER organisers of next weekend's Royal Australian Air Force reunion at Evans Head are dismayed to discover they must rent the aerodrome from Richmond Valley Council for more than $1400 per day.

The reunion will be opened by Governor General Quentin Bryce.

It has been 70 years since the Empire Air Training Scheme first set up the Number One Bombing And Gunnery School at Evans Head. So this October long weekend was to be a special event for those frail and elderly WWII veterans that gave so much to the town.

The reunion is designed to commemorate service by air force personnel trained at Evans Head, 1100 of whom perished in the war.

However, the budget oversight now puts the entire program at risk, and museum volunteers are asking for public help to meet the costs of the weekend fanfare.

“This is a reunion, not a fly-in,” Evans Head Living Museum convener of the RAAF reunion Lill Colless said. “We could understand if this was a commercial event.

“We are a registered charity which runs entirely on volunteers and public funds.”

The committee applied to council for event funding earlier this year and was granted $3800, but Mrs Colless said it had all but disappeared in charges to meet council regulations.

A development application for the event cost $300. Rental of disabled toilets for the weekend will cost $450, required marquees erected to council standard will cost $1500, insurance will cost $1000, the hire of the Northern Rivers Big Band will cost $2500 and now there is the realisation that the aerodrome itself will cost $1455 each day.

Richmond Valley Council general manager Brian Wilkinson said much in-kind work was being done on the aerodrome prior to the weekend event, such as line-marking, mowing and creating a camping area.

To donate to the museum, call 6682 6410.



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