Charity benefit for family of Dennis Long

Nathan and Danny, on the swing. Picture: Joe Mastroianni

From the CFA and SES, to Landcare and the Mount Players … wherever there was a job to be done, Bullengarook’s Dennis Long was there.

Almost a year after his sudden death, organisers of a charity dinner dance this Saturday hope to raise $10,000 to help Mr Long’s widow Meredith bring up their young sons.

Spokesman Chris Finch says friends used to joke that ‘‘community’’ was Mr Long’s middle name.

‘‘I’ve never, ever known anybody as community-minded as Dennis,’’ Mr Finch says. ‘‘He helped people with respite, he was a first-aider, a blood donor, so many things.’’

Mr and Mrs Long, who lost a son in the early 1980s, began fostering children in their mid-60s.

After taking in Nathan, 9, and Danny, 7, a few years ago, they made the decision to become their legal guardians.

Mr Finch says this weekend’s event, including a two-course meal, music from soul-jazz band Shaun Evans and the Soulistics, and a talk by author John Marsden, will help Mrs Long raise the boys and provide for their future.

The Mount Players will honour Mr Long by planting a memorial tree, while the CFA will present a certificate acknowledging his 38 years of service.

A charity auction will include signed books, a framed watercolour painting by Helen Cottle, handmade furniture, wine, Seekers memorabilia and photography sessions.

Mr Finch is urging anyone who knew Mr Long to show support.

‘‘Dennis was the kind of guy who kept everybody on the ball, so things got done,’’ he says. ‘‘That’s just who he was.

‘‘This is probably the only way we can really show our respect and also put a bit of money aside for the family.’’

The benefit is at Macedon’s Jubilee Hall from 6.30pm this Saturday. Tickets: $60. To book, visit

People can also donate to a trust fund set up for the boys. For more details, phone 0438 542 613.