Months of work finally came together for the Hawkesbury Riding Club (HRC) on Friday, March 10, as more than 100 people turned out for the clubs 'Dress to Impress in 2023' fashion evening. It was a great evening celebrating the new year in style and supporting local retail stores - Smik Clothing, Hidden Treasures and Pinq Fashion - that were impacted by COVID-19 and floods, raising over $3000. The money raised will go towards improving the riding club's grounds, as well as updating show jumping poles and the cross-country course. Horseland Richmond was the nights major sponsor, providing jodhpurs, shirts and other horse clothing for the auction. The night was enjoyed by all and saw some VIPs in attendance, including Hawkesbury MP Robyn Preston, Macquarie MP Susan Templeman and Hawkesbury City Mayor Councillor Sarah McMahon. But before the night could see models take to the stage, there was plenty of work behind the scenes that needed to be done. It all began back in September 2022, when HRC received a grant of $5000 from the Nepean Healthcare's Well Being and Resilience Grant for the rebuilding of communities following the 2022 Hawkesbury floods, to hold a fashion evening. The event co-ordinator Jane Reid wrote in the HRC Newsletter that they were to spend the money on the venue, food and drink, and clothes to auction off. "So, the journey began, we needed to select a venue and Pitt Town Sports Club kindly offered their venue for free," she said. "I met with various retails stores and provided them with information on the evening and of course commenced the important job of selecting the HRC models, which by the way, they all did a fabulous job, and I am pretty sure some could Model professionally if they want to. "The HRC models gave up many hours of trying on various outfits in various shops with me constantly asking the shop owner 'But is this a good seller?'. We worked to a price and ensured we had a range of outfits that were either from the special section or were available in all sizes and or colours." Many meetings of the Dress to Impress committee eventually led to all the required equipment to be locked in, including a catwalk and coloured lights. HRC President Wendy Pike found the night's auctioneer, via long time club supporter Hamish Rogers, who brought in Stuart Benson, from Benson Auctions - who was given the title "Celebrity Auctioneer" having appeared on Channel 9's 'The Block'. With the venue booked, equipment secured, clothes bought and models ready for the runway, the stage was set for an amazing night. "[Stuart Benson] was everything you could want in an auctioneer, he was funny and very entertaining, and boy could he sell. All the outfits were purchased including a pair of socks, which was truly amazing," said Ms Reid. The night's MC, Gregg Todd, kept the show running like clockwork. Ms Reid said the backstage crew were wonderful, making sure the models were ready to go on stage, on time, and the show ran smoothly when some last minute changes came through. The HRC 'Dress to Impress in 2023' fashion evening surpassed all expectations with the Horseland Raffle raising $780, while the auction of the modelled clothes brought in $2,434.37, bringing the total raised on the night to $3,214.37. "A truly great result," said Ms Reid.