Sunday, 14 December 2014

The Yule season is upon us

Music, Food, Decorations, Phone Calls, Guest Speakers, Prizes, Sponsors, Silent Auction, Dessert, Merchandise, Tokens, Wine, Soft Drink, Material and Dinnerware.

The past three months of life as a Deluminator have existed with little else.

When Zoe, Sasha and I begun brainstorming potential campaigns this time last year, when 'The Deluminators' still could have been called 'Bertie Botts Every Flavour Team' and the three of us were our only members - this Yule Ball was already whirring away in our minds.

It figures then, that irrespective of circumstance or practicality - this ball was going to happen. Incidentally, when we arrived at our monthly meeting in late September, still exhausted from the logistical nightmare of Project Lily, and with a depressingly dry bank account - it was pointed out to us that we were insane to suggest a fundraising ball.

Yet three months later, as our tired group of members wearily packed up the hall at 12am, we were flooded with the unbelievable reality that we had achieved and surpassed our initial goal - the ball had been a success!

It would be remiss of me at this stage to not thank our fantastic sponsors, without whom we could not have donated 100% of the proceeds from the night to the Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Women's Shelter.

Thank you Turramurra Community Bank and McConnell Bourn for your support and your faith in our cause. We could not have funded the bulk of the night without the financial backing you offered us.

The Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Women's Shelter has been in the works for well over a year now to combat a specific need in the Hornsby area. After it's official opening on Thursday 4th December, it is now beginning its transformative work in supporting homeless women who have been victims of domestic violence.

For more information please visit their website

Let me set the scene for you.

The night is Saturday December 6th 2014.
The full moon hangs discreetly in the sky behind the heavy rain clouds that obscure it.
Rain is falling thickly on the roof of Ku-ring-gai Town Hall - an historic building to serve as your Hogwarts for the night.
Deluminators members have been setting up the hall for 7 hours.
Energy levels are low.
Excitement levels are high.
It's 7pm.
You are about to arrive.

I would like to take a moment to thank our fantastic members for their effort, their dedication, their endurance and their talent. Without all of you, this ball could not have happened.

Thank you Gabby Bate, Olivia Lyndon, Liz Lyon, Joanna Van Zeller, Alex Nielson, Em Robey, Caitlin McColl, Viv Heath, Christine Wilson, Maddy Carr, Alex Bertulis-Fernandes, Jonny Anthony, Jharna Chamlagai and Alice Probert.

Everything from the frosted candleholders to the coloured table runners to the photo booth items to the tree at the front of the hall was laboriously made by our members. Most of the work went in long before we began setting up the hall.

You are huddling under your umbrella.
Surrounded by over 150 other guests.
Everyone is dressed in ball gowns, suits, dress robes and Hogwarts uniforms.

You step off a rainy Pymble street and are instantly transported thousands of miles across the ocean ... into the Great Hall at Hogwarts.

The rain cannot dampen the atmosphere you see before you.

You are immediately opened up to the hauntingly beautiful sound of Hannah Robinson's acoustic set. Hannah captures the atmosphere and amplifies it, setting a tone for a fantastic night to come.

Hannah kindly donated 20% of the proceeds from CD sales toward the shelter, an offer we are incredibly grateful for.

Like Hannah on facebook

Before you find your seat, you spend some time perusing our Diagon Alley Merchandise table.

With Wands made by Christine Wilson.
House Wristbands made by Jharna Chamlagai
Snitch and Dirigible Plum Earrings made by Maddy Carr
Limited edition House Posters designed by Jonny Anthony
Full Moon Earrings donated by Ravish Designs


You then spend some time enjoying our 22-piece silent auction table, notably containing Mrs Weasleys house Scarves, A Fox Sports behind the scenes experience, Arbonne luxury Spa Set and film packs from Transmission Films.

Thanks to all of our sponsors of the silent auction:

Emilia Jager
Lauren Paul
Kim Prodinger
Mrs Weasley

You see our noble member and RSA license holder Caitlin McColl holding fort behind the bar of the Leaky Cauldron. A bar that is plentifully stocked thanks to some significant donations by Tom's Cellars and Coles Turramurra.

Behind the stage you see our 'photo booth' - full of fun Harry Potter decorations for you to customise your photos with.

The night has barely started, but as you find your seat, 7 lucky guests discover a horcrux hidden beneath their chairs. As a reward for their bravery, they are awarded giant Christmas lollipops from Suga Confectionary.

To kick off the night and sort the fans from the spectators, Deluminators member Alex Bertulis-Fernandes conducts a fun Harry Potter themed game of Head and Tales.

The competition is tense, but Vivi comes out on top as the winner.

She wins a lovely box of fresh Cherries donated by the Princes Street Fruit Shop Turramurra ... as well as a surprise serenade by the talented Barkershop Quartet.

Thank you Lachy Day, Dom Westwood, Tim Kelly and Nick Greenberg.

Like The Barkershop Quartet on Facebook

It then becomes time for a delicious Hogwarts Feast, with bread rolls from Bakers Delight Hornsby, salad from Salad Servers and some delicious beef from Bassets Catering. You pile your plate high from the buffet table and head back to your seat at your house table, enjoying a classic Hogwarts meal with friends.

As you finish your meal, you listen to two inspiring guest speakers.

John Lockyer from the Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Women's Shelter helps qualify the money raised on the night in terms of what it will mean for homeless women in the Hornsby region. Giving weight to the night and a sense of purpose to the money raising that is at the core of the event. John makes us all feel lucky for the lives we lead, and the hope we have within us - hope that we can use, like with a Deluminator, to redistribute to those who need it most.

Despite not being much of a Harry Potter fan, John gratefully accepted the theme. Choosing to dress up as Severus Snape. We love his effort.

We were honoured also that Kim Pearce from the Possibility Project offered to speak to us on the night. Kim ties all of the ideas we had been discussing, and the tangible results John had shared into a feeling of connectivity amongst our guests. She speaks of the giving atmosphere within the hall and encourages us to support the shelter in every way we can. She inspires us all, and humbles everyone through her words on the importance of the occasion through her universal message of community.

Formalities are through. The music starts and you begin to dance.

Thank you to Set by the Sea, for their fantastic improvised acoustic set. When you discover that the acoustics of a hall can't handle a drum kit 2hrs before an event, it takes a lot of talent to still be able to go on and perform. It takes even more to go on and perform as superbly as they did.

For an indie rock band with no wizard rock experience, they pulled off excellent renditions of 'Save Ginny Weasley', 'Granger Danger' and 'Do the Hippogriff'. We are your biggest fans.

Thank you Stephen Bobb, Alex Bobb, Sam Moschatos and Tom Bonnell.

Like Set by the Sea on Facebook

The music has stopped. You are exhausted and all danced out. You resume seating at your house table. Time for another game, heads and tales - who invented that? Witch? or Wizard? Led by Deluminators member Gabby Bate.

After some heavy competition, Dennis comes out on top as our winner, winning a $50 voucher from Lindfield Bookstore.

Whilst everyone around you finalises their silent auction bids and raffle ticket purchases. You move over to the buffet to collect your delicious dessert, as well as tea and coffee kindly donated by Withams Coffee.

Then the winners are announced for the raffle, Jim, Jo and Chris win three prizes - a $100 Hurricanes Voucher, an exciting confectionary hamper from Stuart Alexander and a Pamper Hamper.

The Silent Auction is also announced, after some exciting competition.

The award for the most exciting bidding war of the night must go to the box set of Hardcover Harry Potter books with new cover designs by Jonny Duddle. An item that sold to Deluminators member Liz Lyon for above the recommended retail price. Thanks for your contribution Liz.

Set by the Sea comes back on for their second set, and you head back to the dance floor after an enjoyable night of charity, fun and house pride.

The following day, you go on facebook after having liked The Deluminators to discover that Ravenclaw has won the house cup by the narrow margin of 15 points; due to their outstanding contribution to the fundraising on the night.

There is a certain feeling of exhaustion, nostalgia and and happiness that I have come to associate with the end of big campaigns such as this.

Campaigns where all of the hard work pays off, where all of us Deluminators can sit down at the end of the day and say 'we did that'. We are a group of people joined together by a common purpose, a group of people who most likely would never have met if not for this organisation. It is so amazing to be able to look back and realise that you don't need to be old and experienced to start changing the world; because we are.

We are a small group of people from Sydney, aged 14-24. A group of people in the demographic many consider to be lazy.
What I feel at the end of campaigns such as this ... is pride.
Pride in the Deluminators, pride in our members, but more importantly - pride in the world we live in.

Through planning the event, we had countless organisations and people offering to sponsor costs of the night. 156 people bought tickets to come to our Yule Ball. Many of them strangers to us, most of them blindly trusting that we were genuine. The world may have a lot of issues, dark wizards may still be at large, but I trust in the goodness of humans. I trust in their desire for a better world.

Thank you to everyone involved, you are truly an inspiration. We raised $12,000 from our ball. $12,000 that has the potential to change the lives of women who need it most.

This final figure is amazing, but it goes further than that. Money is one thing, mentality is another. The Deluminators are creating a mentality amongst ourselves, our peers and all those we touch through our campaigns. A mentality that says social change does not need to be hard, it can merely be a direction through which you direct your passions and your self.

As J.K Rowling said "We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided"

Thank you for standing with us as we strive to make a better world.


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