THE town of Manilla will come alive this weekend as the community bands together to help one of its own.
Pioneer Park and the Manilla museum grounds will transform into a family wonderland tomorrow afternoon with a fun day and concert planned to raise much-needed funds for four-year-old Patrick Coombes and his family.
Patrick, who is currently undergoing treatment at Sydney’s West- mead hospital, is fighting a battle against an inoperable brain tumour.
“He’s having a pretty torrid time for the next six weeks,” Manilla resident and concert co-ordinator Ian Bignall said.
“This day is being organised to help make the next few months a little easier for Patrick and his family.”
While Ronald Mc-Donald House is providing the Coombeses with accommodation, the treks to and from Sydney have taken their toll on Patrick’s dairy farmer parents and his two siblings.
“They are finding it very difficult,” Mr Bignall said. “He is a dairy farmer, you just can’t have a day off.”
After overhearing the family’s plight at the local museum markets three weeks ago, Mr Bignall, who has never met the family but has
a relationship with Patrick’s grandfather, was propelled to act.
Mr Bignall and some mates picked a date and set about organising the benefit concert.
The town, he said, was renowned for rallying behind one another in times of need.
The Patrick Coombes Family Benefit Concert will kick off at 1pm with a performance by rising country music star Ashley Dallas.
Then a string of local musos, including Rob Breeze, Kevin Harris, John Brand, Kerry Blinman, Ellis “Willy Nelson” Girrard and Bill Plevey will strut their stuff on the "stage"- Manilla museum’s restored Austin truck.
There will be a jumping castle, fairy floss, face painting and games for the kids along with poems by David Ridgewell, while tastebuds haven’t been forgotten with a bbq lunch and afternoon tea.
“We’ve had a pile of CDs donated and these will be offered as prizes on the chocolate wheel which will be running all afternoon...and a raffle will be conducted and all money raised will go towards the appeal,” he said.
In what can only be seen as an auspicious start, the fundraising effort was buoyed yesterday after an out-of-towner travelling through Tamworth generously donated $1000 to the cause after hearing the concert discussed on local radio.
Anyone else wishing to donate good or services to the cause can call Mr Bignall on 0428 421 668.
In the event of inclement weather the whole show will move to Manilla Town Hall.