Williams’ paddock turned cocktail gala to raise funds for mental health in the regions

Headshot of Isabel Vieira
Isabel VieiraNarrogin Observer
Courtney Thornton and Kendall Whyte.
Camera IconCourtney Thornton and Kendall Whyte. Credit: supplied

A lone paddock in the heart of Williams will be transformed into a cocktail gala to bring farmers, families and friends together to raise funds to support regional mental health services.

Blue Tree Project’s Kendall Whyte and the Happiness Co Foundation’s Courtney Thornton have partnered to host the inaugural A Night Under the Stars event in Williams on March 5 to raise vital funds for mental health services in regional and rural WA.

The sold out event is expected to attract more than 600 people from around the State to enjoy a host of live entertainment, food, drinks and camping under the stars.

Courtney Thornton and Kendall Whyte
Camera IconCourtney Thornton and Kendall Whyte Credit: supplied

The funds raised will be distributed across six mental health advocacy groups and organisations including Men’s Regional Health, Mental Illness Fellowship of WA, Blue Tree Project, the 6B’s, Nick Robinson and the Happiness Co Foundation.

“We came up with the idea of wanting to create an event in the country that would be able to bring people together and unite communities in the regional areas to fundraise for mental health in the country,” Ms Whyte said.

“So as part of the night we have six purpose partners and they are all organisations that support mental health in regional areas in some way.

“We just thought it would be a really unique purposeful event that’s country with a touch of glam.”

Opposition leader Mia Davies will be opening the event with several inspirational speakers from the purpose partners presenting on the night.

Blue Tree Project's Kendall Whyte poses next to the blue tree at Walter Point in Bicton.
Camera IconBlue Tree Project's Kendall Whyte poses next to the blue tree at Walter Point in Bicton. Credit: Kelsey Reid/The West Australian

Five-piece Australian rock band Dallas Radio, musician Fiona Rea, folk singer-songwriter Michael Dunstan and DJ NDORSE will be keeping the crowds entertained and on the dance floor.

“The night will be filled with a range of entertainment, live music, beautiful food, drinks and a range of auctions and raffle opportunities,” Ms Whyte said.

“We wanted to make sure that everyone got home safe as well, so there is the option to camp.

“We will have everyone rolling out their swag, pitching their tent or parking up their caravans so we can just head over to the campgrounds and spend the night and head off in the morning after they have some coffee.”

Ms Whyte said the underlying aim of the event was to break down the stigma around mental health by making terms such as “toughen up” and “man up” phrases of the past.

“We know the extra challenge that a lot of people in these areas are faced with so we want them to know they are not alone and there is support out there,” she said.

“It gives people something to look forward to, it’s a really unique purposeful event where people can have a good night for a good cause.

“So it will all be money raised in the country staying in the country, which I think is really special.”

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