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Dinner brings in more than $24,000 for Emo hospital

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Fundraising for the Emo hospital’s renovation project got off to a good start Friday night, with more than $24,000 raised at the kick-off dinner and silent auction.

The Emo Legion was packed as all 200 seats to the event were sold well ahead of time. Co-organizer and emcee Percy Champagne was more than pleased.

“I thought it was fantastic,” he enthused. “Nobody left early. I would venture to say 95 percent of the crowd stayed until 10 p.m. when the evening closed.”

“A great time was had by all,” echoed Gerd O’Sullivan, chair of the general fundraising committee. “Nobody got bored and everything moved along just nicely.”

Highlights of the evening included a $5,000 cheque from Voyageur Panel in Barwick, plus a quilt donated by Marge McLeod which brought in more than $300 during the silent auction.

Then there was the $200 donation for Dr. John O’Sullivan to sing “Wild Colonial Boy.”

“We had some impromptu events that turned out to be very exciting,” Champagne said, noting several other people were put on the auction block to sing.

“One of my feelings is I’ve never seen so many people laugh so often in the same evening,” he chuckled.

“It might be best next time to pay some people not to sing,” joked O’Sullivan.

Besides the impromptu singing, Cindy Judson had organized a full night of “real” entertainment, including the first public performance of the Community Children’s Chorus of Emo under the direction of Renée Martin.

“I think Renée Martin deserves an incredible big hug and a thank you for doing such a beautiful job with those children,” Champagne said. “And I think the other entertainment in the evening was excellent.”

Champagne said this was the first time he had ever been asked to emcee a function like this—and it was an experience he thoroughly enjoyed.

“I went away feeling like I really accomplished something,” he remarked. “It was a feeling of self-satisfaction for helping to put the thing on.”

Despite the good start, though, the fundraising committee still has a long way to go before it can call it quits, needing to raise at least another $500,000 for a renovation project that could cost almost $2 million.

“We’re now going to do some heavy-duty planning for the next year,” O’Sullivan said. “Anybody who wants to volunteer can give me a call.”

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