Twiggy opens up hearts, wallets

Twiggy opens up hearts, wallets

The Salvation Army's annual Red Shield Appeal is off to a flying start thanks to an extraordinarily generous $1 million donation from mining magnate Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest.

The Fortescue Metals Group chairman opened wallets aplenty at the appeal launch in Sydney on Thursday by challenging the 770-strong crowd to match his mammoth donation.

Former miner Roger Massy-Greene, who is the appeal's chairman, and his wife, QBE chairman Belinda Hutchinson, were going to give $100,000 but lifted it to $200,000.

Whitehaven Coal boss and occasional Nathan Tinkler sparring partner Tony Haggarty, who is on the appeal committee, wasn't in the room, but he and his wife pledged $100,000.

Sydney Harbour Bridge climb organiser Paul Cave was also a big giver, chipping in $35,000, and the NSW government donated $200,000, which was presented by the Minister for Family and Community Services, Pru Goward.

Forrest's wife Nicole told the crowd, a who's who of corporate Sydney, that "it is equally as hard to give it away as to make it", while man-of-the-people Twiggy noted that he, at times, spoke with homeless people to find out their stories.

The throng was entertained by MC and former rugby union star Nick Farr-Jones, with music from Australian Idol winner Stan Walker.

Those feasting on what, given the free-flowing charity pledges, must have been most expensive rubber chicken, included Macquarie Bank rising star Shemara Wikramanayak, former "Millionaire's Factory" bigwig Tony Berg, fashion figure Carla Zampatti, former Transfield executive Guido Belgiorno-Nettis, and company director Lucy Turnbull. By the end of the day the room had well and truly matched Forrest's ante - a very good start towards the appeal target of $79 million.

Guy get-together

Major international sporting events seem to attract Australian corporate types like bees to a honeypot. One dual-listed mining outfit is known to hold a London board meeting during the same fortnight as a little tennis tournament that occurs at the All England Lawn Tennis club each June.

Don't despair shareholders, it's probably just coincidence.

The US Masters golf championship at Augusta National is top of the tree when it comes to luring Aussies. There were so many getting about Georgia that PGA Australasia chief Brian Thorburn decided to host a good ol' Aussie barbie.

According to CBD's man in Augusta, Stadium Australia Group chief Daryl Kerry was on hand. So was Barry Brown, the new boss of Qantas International - no, wait! He actually runs Emirates Australia.

The corporate types rubbed shoulders with sporting powerbrokers and glitterati. Former US PGA champion Wayne Grady turned up, as did Golf Australia chairman John Hopkins, and Australian Olympic Committee vice-president Peter Montgomery.

Thorburn welcomed his guests to the pre-Masters festivities and singled out a few personally, including a special mention for "Guy Kenny, ironman superstar".

Sadly for Thornburn, his guest was in fact a bloke named Guy Leech.

"The intro was met with the same looks of confusion as a Tiger Woods three-putt," quipped one observer. "Leechy looked a bit baffled."

Grant Kenny is, of course, the blond ironman who starred in The Coolangatta Gold in the 1980s, but saved his best thespian work for a series of Nutri-Grain cereal ads. Leech was his blond ironman rival who actually won The Coolangatta Gold.

To prove his point, Leech was later seen at the party clutching a Nutri-Grain box and declaring: "I'm Guy Leech, not Grant Kenny!"

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