Telethon returns for its 53rd year next month with a new-look event and a family festival that will celebrate WA and its culture of giving.
The much-loved fundraiser for children in need will be held on Saturday, October 24 and Sunday, October 25, with live broadcasts on Channel 7 on both nights.
For the first time, there will be a Telethon Family Festival, to be held at Optus Stadium, with activities and entertainment to run all afternoon on Sunday, October 25.
Telethon chairman Richard Goyder said the new-look format was necessary because of ongoing restrictions and closed borders related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We did it reluctantly but we’re also quite excited about it,” he said.
“COVID creates a lot of logistical challenges of getting people, like entertainers and the Channel 7 stars, to Western Australia. We’re just not going to be able to do that this year.”
The Perth businessman and father-of-four said while they were ambitious about beating the $42.6 million raised last year, the 2020 Telethon weekend was also about uniting WA during a difficult year.
“We’re realistic in our expectations this year, but we still think it’s going to be phenomenal,” he said.
COVID-19 restrictions have put a halt to numerous things this year, but many WA children continue to be affected by illness, disability and disadvantage.
Mr Goyder said the need for the help that Telethon provided was now even greater.
Many of the 53 charities which benefited from Telethon funding this year are doing it tough because of cancelled programs and fundraising events, which in turn affects the children they want to help.
“Our health as a community is reflected in the health and wellbeing of our kids,” Mr Goyder said.
“Whether it’s medical research or whether it’s just looking after the kids who have got really serious disease and disabilities, Telethon really lifts that up.”
Mr Goyder, who is also chairman of Woodside Petroleum, the AFL Commission and Qantas, said he would just ask everyone to be as generous as they can.
“Every dollar we raise goes to a beneficiary organisation,” he said.
“Part of the brand of Telethon is that money goes to where it’s needed, and this year it’s needed more than ever.”
Telethon host Basil Zempilas said the new-look event was a great opportunity to showcase WA talent.
“WA’s favourite fundraising appeal, almost exclusively with WA talent — that’s exciting and a great celebration of what we can achieve in WA,” he said.
The Telethon call centre will be open throughout the weekend to take donations.
The Telethon Family Festival, presented by Coles and supported by HBF and Bankwest, will be held at Optus Stadium on Sunday, October 25 from 11am to 5pm.
There will be a community stage with entertainment acts and performers, food trucks, carnival rides, a sports precinct and numerous special guests. Tickets will soon be available for both live broadcasts, and the Telethon Family Festival.
The Telethon Ball will be held on Saturday, October 24, which will see corporate WA come together to raise funds.
Telethon will be broadcast live from Crown Theatre on Saturday, October 24 from 8.30pm to 11.30pm, and on Sunday, October 25 from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.
The broadcast will take the form of a variety show, featuring WA entertainers, musicians and personalities.
Telethon has raised more than $350 million since 1968.
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