WAITING IN HOPE: Community Help Group treasurer Barbara Watson and chairman Ray Fleming have their fingers crossed for the return of their group's charity barbecue after it was taken from Scarness Stage on Australia Day.
WAITING IN HOPE: Community Help Group treasurer Barbara Watson and chairman Ray Fleming have their fingers crossed for the return of their group's charity barbecue after it was taken from Scarness Stage on Australia Day. Alistair Brightman

LOW ACT: Barbecue stolen from Bay charity on Australia Day

AN $800 BARBECUE that was less than a week old and used to raise funds for local charities, has been stolen from Scarness Stage after a community event on Australia Day.

The Community Help Group is made up of a small band of hardworking volunteers who raise funds for Meals on Wheels and many other community projects on the Fraser Coast.

Since 2010, the group has run the free Australia Day Event in Scarness Park with live entertainment, a sausage sizzle and various displays, which attracts a crowd of hundreds.

The group bought the new Clubman barbecue with a solid cooking plate especially for the day.

Chairman Ray Fleming said unfortunately two barbecues - one that was borrowed - were to be locked up in the stage shed but were unknowingly left out.

It wasn't until they came back to pick up the barbecues on the Monday morning that the new black Clubman BD 16640 model, was missing.

"The idea was to put them back in the shed for collection later on so we have no idea how the whole thing happened," Ray said.

"We didn't go back on Sunday after our big day on Saturday and when I got there on Monday, the older of the two barbecues was still sitting on the stage.

"It is now in the hands of the police who are checking the CCTV footage of the event."

Ray said it would have been clear to the thieves that the barbecues were owned by the charity that ran the event.

"I can't understand the motivation of people who do these things, particularly to not-for-profit organisations who work hard throughout the year to raise funds for various projects.

"It had only been used once.

"We are hopeful the CCTV footage may bring something to light."

Ray said it will now take some time to raise enough money to replace it.

"We are always looking for other fundraising avenues and events that we can attend, but now it's going to take some time to accumulate the funds to do that," he said.

Ray is appealing for anyone who has any information about the missing barbecue to contact 0467 041 435.

If whoever took it would like to return it, they can drop it off at Meals on Wheels Fraser Community at 39A Islander Rd, Pialba, or under cover on the veranda of the Hervey Bay Community Centre, Charles St, Pialba.



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