A “touch of blue” was the theme for Blackall’s meet and greet race meeting on Saturday, the opener for the central west’s 2018 season.
The afternoon of racing was complemented by information and auctions for the Dolly’s Dream Foundation to continue the push to raise awareness of issues surrounding bullying and youth suicide.
It was organised by local racing identity, Rosie Kerr, a great-aunt to Amy “Dolly” Everett, whose suicide in January has put the national spotlight on cyber-bullying and youth mental health needs.
According to Rosie, it was important to keep the issue at the front of people’s minds.
“People between the ages of 20 and 30 especially responded really well to the afternoon,” Rosie said.
“They told me they’d experienced bullying and what the foundation was doing was something they wanted to support.
“Even in a small community, bullying happens, and we just can’t ignore it.
“And with the drought, it brings mental health problems.
“We can only do our little bit in our own way.”
Rosie said funds raised for the Dolly’s Dream Foundation would be supporting education on bullying in schools.
An auction on the afternoon raised $7895. While Rosie said her focus for the afternoon had been on getting people to talk about bullying rather than raising a lot of money, she felt both aims had been achieved.
It was all conducted against a backdrop of imminent rain, where even the clouds cooperated with the colour scheme, turning a deep shade of blue as the afternoon progressed.
Race club secretary, Kylie Banks, said a cooperative effort between stewards, trainers and club officials saw all races run by 3pm.
“We had Fashions on the Field after that, which kept everybody entertained, and then the auction.
“We thought it was a good cause to support and it reached a fair number of people in the community.
“The races here are always well attended.”
The next Blackall meeting will be on April 14, the last weekend of school holidays.