First Telethon Family Festival a smashing success attracting 25,000 people to Optus Stadium

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Steve ButlerThe West Australian
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VideoGenerous West Aussies have opened their hearts and wallets for sick children at this year's new-look Telethon.

Thousands of West Aussies flocked to Optus Stadium for the Telethon Family Festival today.

Despite the heat, some 25,000 people descended on the stadium, enjoying stage performances and rides in a temporary sideshow alley.

Demi Skinner, a Tik Tok star with 2.2 million followers, performs with hoops at the Telethon Family Festival at Optus Stadium.
Camera IconDemi Skinner, a Tik Tok star with 2.2 million followers, performs with hoops at the Telethon Family Festival at Optus Stadium. Credit: Will Russell/The West Australian

Some, like four-year-old Willow Davis even managed to sneak in a quick cuddle with Channel 7 icon, Fat Cat.

But beneath the fun and frivolity, the serious business of fundraising for sick WA children was firmly under way.

Children enjoy the festivities at the Telethon Family Festival at Optus Stadium in Perth.
Camera IconChildren enjoy the festivities at the Telethon Family Festival at Optus Stadium in Perth. Credit: Will Russell/The West Australian

Rugby league great Matt Fuller headed a record 37 spinning bikes for his annual Telethon challenge that has raised more than $1.2 million in the past 12 years.

Matt Fuller at the Telethon Family Festival at Optus Stadium in Perth.
Camera IconMatt Fuller at the Telethon Family Festival at Optus Stadium in Perth. Credit: Will Russell/The West Australian

This year’s truncated six-hour challenge, down from the usual 24 hours, was unlikely to cause medical issues he’s suffered from in years past — including a shoulder reconstruction and six month’s worth of pins and needles in his feet.

But despite the shorter timeframe, his drive to give had not waned.

Pictured (front) Makai Lewis-Rees and the Class Act Performers pose before going on stage at the Telethon Family Festival at Optus Stadium.
Camera IconPictured (front) Makai Lewis-Rees and the Class Act Performers pose before going on stage at the Telethon Family Festival at Optus Stadium. Credit: Will Russell/The West Australian
Crowds lining up to enter the Telethon Family Festival at Optus Stadium.
Camera IconCrowds lining up to enter the Telethon Family Festival at Optus Stadium. Credit: Will Russell/The West Australian

“It’s a new venue and a new format, but it’s the same old passion, mate,” Fuller said. “We just want to raise as much money as we can for the sick kids of WA and the atmosphere is amazing.

“Everyone has united and it’s been embraced through WA.”

To donate, phone 1300 737 507 or click here.

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