AS Bendigo prepares to farewell four-year-old Patiya May Schreiber on Monday, the city continues to rally behind her stricken family.
Patiya May's funeral service will be held at 1pm on January 13 and her family has invited the people of Bendigo to release balloons at the Eaglehawk Lawn Cemetery to say goodbye to the little girl whose tragic death has touched so many.
Pink and purple balloons will be released at the Rainbow Garden at the Eaglehawk Lawn Cemetery after the 1pm service at the William Farmer Victoria Street Chapel.
Bendigo Party Hire is providing balloons and helium, but those wishing to release a balloon in Patiya's memory are being asked for a gold coin donation towards the Kristy Thomson Appeal.
"The support for the family has been phenomenal - and this is one way of people being able to celebrate Patiya's life with them,'' said family friend Tracey Elliot.
Fundraising for Patiya May’s parents Kyle Schreiber and Kristy Thomson continued at the weekend, raising thousands.
Kyle and Kristy’s sister and brother were among an estimated 250 who attended the Rosalind Park Tragedy Fundraiser benefit gig at the Manchester Arms Hotel in Long Gully on Friday night, which raised more than $13,000.
The night, compered by 3BO’s Brian Coghlan, collected $5 door fees and an auction of items donated by Bendigo and other businesses included a 12-month gym membership from FIT Republic, $1000 from IGA Long Gully, children’s bicycles, landscaping, financial services, a signed Essendon football jumper, and five cubic metres of concrete valued at $1150 from Boral Concrete.
A group of bikies donated $1200 at the door and a big hamper of goods, said one of the organisers, Wendy Donaldson.
Bendigo band Leeway, guitarist Peter Reeves, singer Caitlin Penno, a photo booth and face painter Brigitte Moore, who used to paint Patiya May’s face, were also highlights.
Mrs Donaldson said it was a fantastic night and the family had been overwhelmed by the support.
“It was a big night, it was absolutely fantastic,” Mrs Donaldson said. “We were blown away.”
Guests and family hailed the event on the Facebook page Melanie set up for the appeal (www.facebook.com/events/443293265792888)
Kristy Thomson wrote:
“So much appreciation, no amount of words can express my gratefulness wish I could be there but thank you to EVERYONE xxxx”
Kellie McKinnon said “Well done to all involved!! Fantastic turnout and some very generous donations.”
The Donaldson family - Mrs Donaldson, husband Rodney, and their children Melanie, 24, Hayden, 28 and Michael, 31 – organised the impromptu gig in response to the tree accident that killed Patiya and maimed her mother on December 30.
Also at the weekend the Bendigo Harness Racing Club donated $1 from every paying patron at Saturday night's Bendigo Pacing Cup, to the Kristy Thomson Appeal, the Salvation Army donated all proceeds from its Gravel Hill market on Saturday and on Sunday the Court House Hotel held a family day and auction.
Future fundraising events include an 11-hour rock concert at the Golden Vine Hotel on February 2, and a bike ride from the Allies Hotel on February 16.. followed by an afternoon of food and music.
Golden Vine publican Mark Elliott said the Kristy Thomson Benefit Concert would feature 11 bands in 11 hours from 11am, with food all day, easy listening acoustic music in the beer garden and local rock bands in the pub.
Entry is $10 or gold coin donation for under-18s. More details to come.
Donations to the appeal can also be made online here.