Sample of work by Ally Stoyel



A multitude of guests and a number of stars gathered at Little Collins Café in Notting Hill on Friday night for the Stars Align for Charity event, in order to raise money and awareness for Beyondblue.

The evening was a huge success and an incredible achievement for organiser Mel Hossack, wife of AMCA Nationals racer Darren Hossack, who almost singlehandedly managed to arrange six guest stars, a venue, catering and a stockpile of signed merchandise, which was auctioned off at the end of the night, significantly increasing the money raised.

The stars included V8 Supercar drivers Karl Reindler and Tony D’Alberto, not to mention Cameron McConville, who did a fantastic job as MC and interviewer throughout the night. Olympic gold medallist pole vaulter Steve Hooker was also in attendance, along with actors Debra Lawrence (Prisoner, A Country Practice, Blue Heelers, Home and Away) and the very popular Kyle Pryor (Home and Away).

The night began with McConville introducing Beyondblue and the amazing work that they do tackling mental illness, depression and anxiety. He gave an emotional account explaining how he has personally been touched by mental illness, with his mother ultimately losing her battle with depression, and how he managed to conquer his demons, having also suffered with the illness himself.

We then heard from each of the guest stars throughout the night as they discussed their careers, challenges they’ve faced, their goals and how they’ve overcome adversity at different points in their lives.

For Reindler, one of his most difficult periods was after a horrific accident at Western Australia’s Barbagallo Raceway in 2011, where his car stalled due to a mechanical fault, causing him to be hit from behind by a fellow driver at a speed of 150 kilometres. This resulted in his car erupting into a huge fireball, where he was trapped for a short time before escaping, suffering burns to his face and hands.

Lawrence explained how she managed to deal with the very harsh realities of growing up in the television and film industry in the 1970s after graduating from NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Arts), having quickly understood that she would not likely ever play the leading lady, while Pryor took a huge gamble at an early age and moved from his native England to New Zealand to pursue stunts and acting. Pryor later moved to Australia where he landed the role of Nate Cooper in the long-running soap Home and Away.

With Mel Hossack’s strong ties to the speedway community, a number of speedway drivers were also in attendance, including Victorian Wingless Sprint hard-charger Travis Millar, along with Darren’s fellow AMCA Nationals drivers Mathew and Jamie Mills, as well as Jamie Collins.

“Stars Align for Charity came about through my first boyfriend taking his own life in January,” expressed Mel.

“The event was not just about raising much-needed funds for Beyondblue, but also to raise awareness and stamp out the belief that mental illness is something to be ashamed of.

“I would like to thank all of the stars who donated their time to help us raise over $8,000 for Beyondblue.”

To find out more about Beyondblue, visit their website at or call them on 1300 22 4636. You can also like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter by searching Beyondblue.