The City of London Corporation will add £15,000 to funds raised through a dinner for the Australian bushfire relief, bringing the total donation to the Australian Red Cross to more than £130,000.
692nd Lord Mayor of London William Russell partnered with Australian High Commissioner George Brandis to host the event at Mansion House, which was attended by HRH The Prince of Wales, who earlier this year sent a personal message of support to the ‘incredibly special and resilient’ Australian people who have been affected by the bushfires.
The money raised will go towards providing assistance to affected communities, including on-the-ground services, immediate assistance and mid-to-long term support.
This will include financial support to those who’ve lost their homes, been injured or been bereaved, as well as payments to cover the costs of structural damage to homes and investment into community recovery programmes.
Guests at the event included representatives from City firms, Australian businesses, and trade bodies.
Australia is fighting an unprecedented bushfire season, fuelled by record-breaking temperatures and months of severe drought. While the 2019-20 bushfire season is now drawing to a close, resources have become increasingly stretched.
Since September at least 34 people have died in the bushfires, while wildlife has been devastated, nearly 3,000 homes destroyed, and more than 46 million acres have been burned.
Mr Russell said: “I am delighted to announce that the City of London Corporation will be adding £15,000 to funds already raised from Thursday night’s fundraising event, for a grand total of more than £130,000.
“This year’s Australian bushfire season has been absolutely devastating: lives have been lost, homes burnt to the ground and communities completely torn apart. The work that the Australian Red Cross is doing is vital in order to help those communities to get back on their feet.
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“The UK and Australia have always been great friends, and I am proud that these proceeds will contribute to their efforts to support affected communities.”
The City of London has a long and historical association with Australia. A number of its Prime Ministers have been Honorary Freemen and the City hosted the commemoration to mark the Centenary of the establishment of the Commonwealth of Australia at the Guildhall in 2001.
Donations can still be made at the Mansion House JustGiving page.
Mr Brandis said: “The generosity of the people and government of the United Kingdom, throughout this fire season, has been deeply moving.
“In word and in deed, Britain has stood by Australia’s side. This dinner is testament to that, and we Australians are deeply grateful for your support.
“In particular, we owe a debt to The Lord Mayor of the City of London, William Russell, for hosting us here at the Mansion House and making this special evening possible.”
Mike Adamson, chief executive of the British Red Cross, added: “On behalf of the Australian Red Cross I would like to thank everyone for their incredible generosity in supporting those affected by the devastating bushfires.
“The Red Cross played a vital part, supporting people at relief and evacuation centres, helping them get in contact with their loved ones, checking on their physical and mental health, and distributing food, water and relief supplies.
“We also provided, and continue to provide, emergency grants to people who lost their homes to the bushfires.
“Donations from the event will help keep people safe and well and support their recovery from these terrible events.”