Musicians, sports stars, celebrities and TV personalities gathered at the Event Centre at The Star on Wednesday night, 18 September 2013, for the launch of the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation which will work to help prevent alcohol-fuelled violence.
Tourism and events industry professional, Ralph Kelly, Founder of the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation and Managing Director of Hemisphere Hospitality Solutions launched the foundation in honour of his son who was killed as the result of an unprovoked attack in Sydney last year.
Supported by The Star, the gala event was attended by over 640 guests and featured a collection of Australian entertainment including Don Walker (Cold Chisel) and Jessica Mauboy.
The event was hosted by Richard Wilkins who welcomed attendees with a sobering message.
“I wish I wasn’t here. I wish I hadn’t been asked to MC the launch of a Foundation that has been incorporated because of this abhorrent crime.”
The evening culminated in the much anticipated fundraising auction led by Ray Hadley.
The event raised $335,000 for the Foundation via the live auction with the first prize securing a $16,000 donation. A generously donated Mazda Neo was also given away.
All funds raised on the night will be dedicated to creating a TAKE KARE Safe Zone in Kings Cross, one of the worst affected areas for alcohol fulled violence in Sydney, the TK Safe Zone will provide care whilst they sober up and assist them to get home safely. The foundation will also work with Sydney City Council to increase the number of CCTV cameras in the city to monitor offenders movements.
Guests heard from the parents of Thomas, Ralph and Kathy Kelly, who described the night of the attack and the months since as the “worst imaginable for a parent”. Mr Kelly described his determination to ensure that no other family would have to experience the pain and anguish they have and that Thomas’ tragic death would not be in vain.
Guests attending the event got to dine with well known Australian’s including The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP (Minister for Communications and Broadband) and Lucy Turnbull (Former Lord Mayor and leading Australian businesswoman), Lord Mayor Clover Moore, Catherine Burn (Deputy Police Commissioner), Charlie Teo (Neurosurgeon ), June Dally-Watkins (Leading Australian businesswoman), Matthew Burke (Australian Rugby Player), Layne Beachley (World Champion Surfer) & Kirk Pengilly (Former member of iconic Australian band INXS), Bill Pulver (CEO of Australian Rugby Union), Phil Waugh (Australian Rugby Union Player), Luke Mangan (Celebrity Chef), Kurtley Beale (Australian Rugby Union Player), Alan Border (Australian Cricketing Legend) and Nathan Hindmarsh (Former Parramatta Eels Captain).
Celebrating a tragically-shortened life, The Star was a proud sponsor and supporter of the launch of the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation.