The Brisbane Produce Market’s charity partner, the MND & Me Foundation, will be the beneficiary of over $11,000 following a fundraising auction of the first boxes of lychees for the season, which was held on Thursday, 25 October on the Market’s trading floor.
In the tradition of the popular Mango Auction, wholesalers Debbie and John Trimboli of Romeo’s Marketing (Qld) partnered with Mareeba lychee grower, Frank Quintieri, to auction two boxes of Sun Lychees to a supportive Markets community.
The Trimbolis pledged to match the winning bid of $5,500, placed by fellow Brisbane Produce Market wholesaler, Mark Clarke of Favco, with all proceeds going to the MND & Me Foundation, which raises funds for people diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND).
“It’s great to raise money for MND as it’s something that has touched our Market community personally,” said Mr Clarke. “I’m happy to show my support for the charity and to kick off a great lychee season,” he said.
Stephen Hunt, a long-standing member of the Markets community, was on hand to run the auction and gave a touching tribute to his late wife who passed away five months after being diagnosed with MND.
“I’m so grateful to Romeo’s, Favco and all the bidders, and to Brisbane Markets Limited and Brismark for their ongoing support of the MND & Me Foundation. It’s very touching,” said Mr Hunt.
Lychee grower, Frank Quintieri, said he and his family had also been affected by MND, having lost his grandfather to the disease just 12 weeks ago.
“My grandfather was as strong as an ox until the past two years,” said Mr Quintieri. “It’s a terrible disease and it doesn’t matter what age you are, it can happen to anyone, despite being healthy.
“It means a lot to my family that the MND & Me Foundation will receive the funds,” he said. The Quintieri family has been producing lychees in Mareeba since the early 1990s.
Lychee season starts in mid-October in Far North Queensland and ends in late March in Northern New South Wales. Sun Lychee spokesperson, Maria Walker, said she was very pleased to see lychees front and centre in support of such a great cause.
“I’m elated to be honest and a bit emotional,” said Mrs Walker. “This is our first ever lychee auction and I’m so grateful to the team at Sun Lychee and Romeo’s for pulling this all together.”
The Australian lychee industry produces around 3,000 tonnes per annum with a farm gate value of $20 million.