Plumbers pour funds into children’s charities

Feb 20 2017

Ross Bingham, Andrew Murphy and Michael Nilsson

Two Hunter charities have shared a donation of over $267,000 after the Newcastle branch of the Master Plumbers Association cleared a substantial pool of membership funds dating back to the mid-1970s.

Ronald McDonald House Newcastle and the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) both received cheques for $133,000 today to support their respective services to children’s health.

Master Plumbers representative Andrew Murphy said the money had resided in an interest-bearing account for over 40 years. “Newcastle Master Plumbers were an autonomous group prior to becoming a sub-branch of the NSW association in the 1970s,” Mr Murphy said. “The leftover members’ funds were invested at the time and a Trust was later established.

“It was becoming difficult to manage, so last year our group decided to donate the money to a Hunter-based children’s charity – that has been our theme ever since the days we held an annual Ball with the plumbers and electricians.

“We decided unanimously to split the money between HMRI and Ronald McDonald House. Both help kids in our region in so many ways, and we saw a nice synergy between the two.”

HMRI General Manager – Development & Marketing, Rebecca Palser, said the Institute’s share of the gift would be endowed, supporting a variety of children’s research projects in perpetuity and ensuring the legacy of the Newcastle Master Plumbers Association.

“We have a highly competitive grants process each year to seed-fund the latest and most promising projects addressing children's illness,” she said.

“This extends from ensuring that babies have a healthy start to life right through to conditions like diabetes, childhood cancer, asthma, allergies, mental health and development disorders. This gift from the Master Plumbers will help ensure long-term success and sustainability.”

Ronald McDonald House provides accommodation for families having to travel long distances to receive treatment at John Hunter Children’s Hospital, as well as operating Family Rooms within the Hospital and a Learning Program for children who have missed substantial school while they have been sick.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be receiving this very generous gift from the Master Plumbers of Newcastle,” Ronald McDonald House Executive Officer Ross Bingham said. “This donation will assist our charity to continue providing crucial services to families across the Hunter Region and Northern NSW.

 “As demand for our services continues to grow, it is more important than ever that Ronald McDonald House receives assistance from our local community.”