THE Spud King of the West has become the Cherry King of the West at Perth’s Market City Charity Cherry Auction last December.
Perth potato grower Tony Galati, Spudshed, became the owner of WA’s most expensive cherries after he placed a bid of $100,000 for a 5kg box of cherries.
The annual auction, which raised a record-breaking total of $135,450 for the Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation, kicked off at 7am, with Network Ten’s Tim Gossage arriving alongside Cherry Prince, Romeo and his twin sister and Cherry Princess, Isabelle, together with a procession of drummers, dancers and the Foundation’s mascot, Stitches the Bear.
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The auction saw Mr Galati go head-to-head with John Ale, from Tony Ale and Co, who bid against each other up to the winning amount of $100,000 – all of which went to the Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation.
Mr Galati bestowed the honour of wearing the Cherry Robe and Crown to his granddaughter, Annabelle.
Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation CEO Carrick Robinson said the annual event has raised more than $1.2 million dollars for the hospital since it began more than 25 years ago, and it was exciting to see the Cherry Auction’s growth and success.
“The generosity and support of WA’s fresh produce wholesalers and retailers over close to three decades has been genuinely amazing, and has meant that the Foundation has been able to provide many more grants for specialist medical equipment and research at Perth Children’s Hospital,” he said.
Ongoing support from the fresh industry was acknowledged prior to the auction with the presentation of Miracle Supporter awards to Tony Ale & Co for previous contributions totalling more than $200,000, and SJ Fresh for contributing more than $50,000.
Mirrabooka Fresh was acknowledged as a Champion Supporter for contributing more than $10,000.
Auctioneer, Tim Gossage warmed up the crowd with the sale of a tray of strawberries to acknowledge the difficulties the strawberries industry faced last year.
Eight boxes of cherries followed prior to the grand finale. A combined total of $35,450 was raised.
The Market City Cherry Auction began in 1992 and is now in its 26th year thanks to the ongoing support of the Market West, the Perth Markets, Toyota Material Handling and the Cherry Growers’ Association of WA.