Thousands of bars across the country are ‘showing their U.G.L.Y. side’, including Wallsend’s Lemon Grove Hotel, in a bid to beat blood cancer and support the Leukaemia Foundation.
Each year the U.G.L.Y. Bartender of the Year is named for their support of the foundation, with the fundraising drive asking bartenders to show that they are “understanding, generous” and “likeable”, and host themed events during October and November.
Wallsend’s Lemon Grove Hotel is set for its own event as part of the U.G.L.Y. fundraisers, hosting a ‘Monster Raffle’ on Sunday, November 12 from 11am.
The hotel also has a Bartender of the Year nominee, Tony Dart, who believes getting involved in community fundraisers is important and necessary.
“We’re involved in a lot of things like the U.G.L.Y. Bartender movement, this will be the third year that we’ve done some events and had one of our staff involved,” Dart said. “In the last couple of years we raised around $8,000 and we’re looking to add to that again.”
“We’ve already raised $4,000 before the monster raffle. We try to get involved in a lot of movements and foundations because it’s crucial for the community. The area has a very giving group of people that are always happy to reach into their pockets and help out.
“Running meat raffles, 100-clubs and a bunch of vouchers for the Lemon Grove on offer means that we have had a lot of interest. People are also getting involved with donations, there’s wine fridges and eskis that have been really generously added in.”
Dart believes that combining the hotel with charity drives is important, and the community always embraces them with open arms.
“We raise money for a lot of things, like Movember or breast cancer research,” he said. “We continually run things throughout the year and it’s just because a fair few people in the community just get behind that sort of stuff. They love to see that people are doing things and getting together for a good cause.”
“Wallsend seems to be a more ‘small-town’ community where everyone always puts their hands in their pockets whenever someone needs the help.”
Leukaemia Foundation’s community fundraising officer, Sarah Hozack, has urged locals to attend the fundraising event, and said that the $80 entry will be funded into one night’s accommodation near leukaemia treatment centres.
“Today an estimated 35 Australians will be diagnosed with a blood cancer. It is the third most common cause of cancer death in Australia, claiming more lives than breast cancer or melanoma,” Sarah said.
“Last year our dedicated U.G.L.Y. bartender entrants across the country raised over $1.7 million to help patients and their families during their darkest hours.”
The U.G.L.Y. charity drive, and Bartender of the Year award, has been embraced by Australia since its foundation in 2009, and has raised more than $10 million. Entrants are recognisable in their distinctive ‘I’m U.G.L.Y., I need help’ t-shirts.
The 2017 U.G.L.Y. Bartender of the Year winner will be crowned at the end of November.