CHROME, diesel, grease and cold hard cash were plentiful at the inaugural Lions Den Automotive Show, with a staggering $18,000 raised in just one day for local girl Ingrid Newman.
The brave four-year-old has been battling a brain tumour since the age of 2, and her mother Belle said the money raised would take a load off the family’s shoulders.
“It will take a huge amount of stress off us as it is sounding likely that they will do another surgery this year,” Ms Newman said.
“If they do we don’t know how long we will be down in Brisbane and (Ingrid’s dad) Jaxon will be off work so we’ll have no money coming in. Last time we were in hospital for a month, as well as six weeks before and after being admitted.”
With 800 people through the gates on the day and hundreds more already camped on-site, the whole Far North came together to support the event.
“We couldn’t believe how many people were there for our little girl, it was truly amazing – we were lost for words,” Ms Newman said.
Organiser Prong Trimble said there were more than 200 bikes on display at the show, as well as some special vehicles.
“There were people driving out and they just couldn’t believe what was set up when they got there,” he said.
“We didn’t have a best in show or anything like that, it was a show, not a competition – all the cars and trucks got a trophy.”
Mr Trimble said accommodation and camping at the hotel was booked out for weeks in advance.
“The whole camping area was booked out, we had a whole dirtbike tour group camped there, people were camped over the road in the paddock – the Newman family have got a lot of support around them.”
He said no mobile reception added to the atmosphere on the day, but many people were using the payphone or finding spots of reception to spread the word about the event.
“We had people driving back in to get mobile service to ring their mates to come out, it was such a friendly social day,” he said.
Although he had hoped to raise $20,000, Mr Trimble said just under $18,000 was an amazing effort.
“When I looked in that bag and saw all that cash it was mind boggling, we were just a few hundred shy of $18,000,” he said.
“It brought all the locals together, everyone came on board and did a really good job, some people were putting in a lot of money, one bloke came up and put $1000 in.”
Ms Newman said in addition to the auto show, the Sovereign Resort Hotel in Cooktown ran a fundraiser which raked in $2500 that the owner matched dollar for dollar.
“Patrons could donate by rounding up their tab or adding any amount to their bill for Ingrid and the owner matched it, totalling $5000, which was a huge surprise,” she said.
The money raised will go towards the costs of Ingrid’s ongoing treatment, including weekly trips to Cairns for chemotherapy, but also into something special the little girl and her siblings can enjoy.
“We have been wanting to make them a sandpit for ages but haven’t had the funds,” Ms Newman said.
“We plan to build them a very epic sandpit! It also means if Ingrid wants something while we’re away I can say yes.”
Ms Newman said the kindness of strangers was overwhelming and wonderful to experience.
“We have never felt alone with Ingrid’s journey – the love and support we receive is amazing,” she said.
Pictures taken by Katherine Grayson for Cape York Weekly