THE Phillip Island Penguin Parade was a sea of penguins of a different kind on Saturday, when almost 900 people dressed up as penguins to break a Guinness World Record.
The event, organised by the Phillip Island Lions Club, saw locals and visitors congregate in the car park of the Penguin Parade to break the Guinness World Record for the ‘Largest gathering of people dressed as penguins’, and raised over $10,000 for the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal.
The unofficial count by Phillip Island’s Stephen Davie and Good Friday Appeal director Anne Randall of 891 people smashed the previous record of 373 recorded by Richard House in London last year.
Lions Club treasurer Lesley Hughes said the club started planning the event six months ago after her husband Trevor saw a group in London break the record for the largest gathering of people dressed as penguins on the news.
“We thought, ‘that’s wrong, we live on Phillip Island we should hold the record!’” she said.
“I designed all of the suits in accordance with the Guinness World Records and had them all made in China in seven different sizes.”
In her 10 years of involvement with the Lions Club, Lesley said this fundraiser was the biggest and most rewarding.
The event has inspired the Lions Club to plan more large-scale fundraising events and has sparked enthusiasm in the club.
“It’s given us new members. We only had 18 members and now we’ve got 24,” Lesley said.
“We’re absolutely ecstatic, the weather was great and there was a good turnout.”
Mrs Randall said the gathering was one of the larger fundraising events for the Good Friday Appeal.
“It’s fantastic that the community can get together and have a lot of fun but raise money for a very good cause,” she said.
“This is certainly among the more creative functions we’ve been to – it’s fantastic.
“The counting was harder than it looked, but it was very orderly towards the end.”
Mrs Randall said this year’s appeal has had the perfect start.
“I’m so encouraged by the generosity of the community; they’re amazing the way they get together to raise funds for this very unique appeal,” she said.
“I think the Royal Children’s Hospital has a very special place in everyone’s hearts; people have either had children, relatives, neighbours, or even when they were younger they were in the hospital themselves.”