OLD rivalries spurred on the bidding towards the record-breaking top price of $110,000 for a box of first-season cherries at the 27th annual Market City Charity Cherry Auction earlier this month.
Tony Galati of Galati Group, John Ale of Tony Ale and Co and Fred Fairthorne of Farmer Jack's collectively took the title of Cherry King by purchasing the box of cherries.
The winning bid matches the 2010 national record held by Sydney Markets, bringing the total raised to $131,000.
In less than three decades, the fresh produce community in WA has donated $1.3 million to the Perth Children's Hospital Foundation.
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The irony of camaraderie and competition that co-exists in the wholesale market was played out in full as the auction progressed before collaboration allowed the three retailers to dig extra deep to help the Foundation and break previous auction records.
"There is nothing more important than the health of kids. We're expecting our first, so it's more important to us now than ever before," co-Cherry King John Ale said.
As per tradition, the event kicked off with the special arrival of the cherry ambassadors and Perth Children's Hospital cardiology patients, Cherry Prince Malin and Cherry Princess Freya.
They entered the central trading area in a cherry-covered Toyota Hilux thanks to Maddington and Canning Vale Toyota.
Funds raised from this year's auction will support the development of specialised paediatric vaccines at the Paediatric Systems Biology Centre.
With this year's Cherry Auction again raising an incredible amount for the Foundation, we are extremely grateful to WA's fresh produce wholesalers and retailers for their continued generous support.
This project is a collaborative venture between Perth Children's Hospital Foundation and Telethon Kids' Institute, aiming to save children's lives around the world.
Project lead, Professor Tobias Kollmann, said the team working on it was very close to being able to create vaccines for diseases that every individual will respond to, lasting for their lifetime.
"The transformative impact this will have is huge. It's going to change everything," Professor Kollmann said.
Perth Children's Hospital Foundation CEO, Carrick Robinson, said funds raised from the Cherry Auction have, and continue to, play a large part in funding specialist medical equipment, expertise, research and positive patient experiences, thanks to the ongoing support of Market West, the Perth Markets Group Limited and the Cherry Growers' Association of WA.
"With this year's Cherry Auction again raising an incredible amount for the Foundation, we are extremely grateful to WA's fresh produce wholesalers and retailers for their continued generous support. The difference that can be made by purchasing a box of cherries is immense," Mr Robinson said.
A total of nine cartons of cherries were donated by cherry growers in Western Australia.
The local cherry season has been hard hit by spring storms followed by intensely hot weather, making supplies lighter than usual.
Auctioneer, Tim Gossage of Network Ten warmed up the crowd with the sale of eight boxes of cherries prior to the grand finale. A combined total of $21,000 was raised with the support of
- John Ale, Tony Ale & Co
- Rodney Dullard, Key Produce Pty Ltd
- Lance Cross, Toyota Materials Handling
- Sam Napoli and Joe Cosentino, Napoli Mercato
- Gerry Guariglia, Fresh Provisions
- Graham Mitchell and Paul Davies, Maddington and Canning Vale Toyota
- Basil Gotsis, Fresh Provisions
- Mirrabooka Fresh Ahmed Albirkawi
- Timber Box of Cherries: Galati Group, Farmer Jacks Group, Tony Ale & Co Tony Galati, Fred Fairthorne, John Ale
The crew from Toyota Material Handling manned a sausage sizzle.