Eyes on Rhinos/ Rescued Rhinos @ Hesc Fundraising Event; By African Synergy – R138 515 Final amount raised

Greetings from the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre!

The last two months leading up to our “Eyes on Rhinos Fundraiser” have been a humbling experience. African Synergy, HESC representatives, came up with the idea of a fundraiser at the Rivonia Barnyard Theatre, specifically for the Travel industry, their friends and family. The aim was to raise money for “Rescued Rhinos @ the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre”. How hard could it be? And why not do a Christmas in July theme? And so the ‘bauble’ started rolling…

To make it interesting we had to get some really attractive prizes sponsored. And that is where the Christmas magic started… Never in our wildest imaginings could we have anticipated how generous our friends and partners in travel would be. So many came on board by donating room nights or services to help us raise money for the rhinos. As the list of givers grew, so did our excitement.

The next big challenge was to decorate this massive theatre in July, making it as ‘Christmassy’ as possible. We thought it would be easy to find old decorations and Christmas trees, but we were in for a rude awakening. Not as much as a bell, a candy cane or scrap of tinsel in sight! So on to the phone we got, contacting companies that specialise in Christmas Décor in the hope of finding a couple of big trees. Despite numerous requests distributed, only one company got back to us. And it was our lucky day! The Christmas Tree Specialists immediately bought into what we were trying to achieve, and donated their time and services to the event. We have no doubt that everyone who attended will agree that this exceptional team transformed the Barnyard Theatre into a Christmas Wonderland! Thank you Mandy and Heather for going way beyond our expectations. You made the evening the magical success it was. We can only hope your kindness will come back to you two fold!

We ran a competition for the best decorated table and the best dressed person, but we never expected the huge effort so many people would go to get into the spirit of things. The outfits, the table decor, the various ‘Christmassy’ creations… WOW! Thanks are not enough to express our gratitude.

The evening came and went so quickly, and we are not quite sure how we survived the stage. Despite the odd ‘blip’ creeping in here and there, thankfully many in the audience did not notice, while others graciously forgave us the verbal faux-pas or two!

When we first started planning, we were aiming for a profit of R50 000. Never would we have thought we would have managed to raise a staggering R138 515.00! This is thanks to every single one of you who attended, or purchased a raffle ticket. We also had some very generous auction bidders (you know who you are). We thank you for your ample bids!