Bowls’ touching moments for bushfire relief

by Bowls Australia

While the sadness of the recent bushfire disaster has touched the hearts of people across the length and breadth of Australia, recent touching moments of a different nature have provided wonderful assistance to the relief effort.

Three-time Commonwealth Games medallist, Barrie Lester, initiated a fundraising idea among the bowling fraternity at the recently completed Bowls Premier League 11 (#BPL11) event at the Moama Bowling Club to help those affected by the disaster.

Lester, originally from Gippsland, and playing for the Melbourne Pulse in the Bowls Premier League, offered, via social media, to donate $10 from every ‘toucher’ he made during the tournament to bushfire relief efforts.

That generosity soon attracted the attention of others involved in the event and the momentum to help those most in need began to gather speed, and quickly, during the four-day event.

Lester’s two Melbourne Pulse teammates, Natasha Scott and Gary Kelly, matched Lester’s offer and also contributed $10 for every one of their touchers as well.

Melbourne Pulse license owner, the Dandenong Club, followed suit and donated $20 for each of their team’s touchers while Lester’s employer, the Burleigh Heads Bowls Club on the Gold Coast, matched the Dandenong Club’s generous contribution.

Members and friends of the clubs and bowlers also contributed, resulting in a total of $4,850 raised for bushfire relief.

The team had 85 touchers across the four-days of competition.

A proud Lester said it was a simple idea that became something much more and delivered a really positive outcome.

“Coming from the Gippsland area that was so badly affected, I initially thought how could I help and what could I do to have an impact,” he said.

“We know only too well how sports and sporting communities rally behind important causes of humanity and it is heart-warming for me that the sport of bowls and people in bowls close to me have jumped on board to help, especially the Dandenong Club who were the first to commit their support.

“Bowls clubs in Australia are so often affected by natural disasters and it is no different this time around so I was just hopeful of making a small difference and, with the support others, I think we have.”

All monies raised will be donated to Bowls Australia’s Disaster Relief Fund, for which Lester is an ambassador.