Cancer Council transport program for Bega Valley to benefit from dance night

GALA FUNDRAISER: Jeremy Fernando and Chloe Jackson channel Michael Jackson on the Club Sapphire dance floor on Saturday night.
GALA FUNDRAISER: Jeremy Fernando and Chloe Jackson channel Michael Jackson on the Club Sapphire dance floor on Saturday night.

The Club Sapphire auditorium was packed for Saturday night's Bega Valley Stars Dance for Cancer gala event.

Eight “stars” from across the shire grooved and twirled across the dance floor with their professional partners to complete several months of fundraising efforts for the Cancer Council NSW.

Even before ticket sales and donations and raffles on the night were factored in, around $20,000 had been raised by the eight locals in a deservedly applauded effort.

It’s expected the final total will top $27,000, almost double last year’s inaugural effort.

The money will be used for the Cancer Council’s prevention programs and patient advocacy initiatives.

In addition, Cancer Council NSW community relations coordinator Kate Brett announced on the night the organisation was implementing a Transport to Treatment service with help from funds raised through events like the dance.

The service would see any cancer patients needing treatment have access to a dedicated vehicle and free transport, even to radiation therapy in Nowra or Canberra, Ms Brett said.

“We’re really proud of this program and hope to see it here within 12 months,” she said.

WATCH: Dance for Cancer 2016 photos, video

As for the dancing, last year’s winning tutor Ray McGovern made it two from two when he led his star Janine Ballard to the judge’s choice award. Ms Ballard was also the highest fundraiser with just shy of $4000 donated at the time of writing.

Best costume went to Quaama’s Rebeccah Norman and Alli Jury and the people’s choice was tennis coach James Poso and his sequined dance teacher Amber Little.

Judges on the night were last year's winning star Jacqui Smith, Bega MP Andrew Constance, Greg Whitby and Geoff Willis.

Other couples on the night included Jeremy Fernando and Chloe Jackson, Taylor McNeil and Kelly Lewis, Debbie Gardiner and Dave Boulton, Annette Haigh and Rachel Murphy, and Don Hassan and Sam McGovern.

“By the look on everyone’s faces, they all had a great time,” Ms Brett said.

“We are really happy – the aim was for everyone to have a good time and it looked like they all had an absolute ball.”