New Mardi Gras chair David Imrie is keen to return the organisation to its grassroots. After just six months on the board, Imrie has been elected chair of New Mardi Gras after Marcus Bourget stepped down from the post after three years.

Imrie said Mardi Gras is a much bigger beast than he had anticipated, but is looking forward to taking on the position and giving back to the community.

Coming from a background in real estate, Imrie became interested in finding a way to give back to the community about a year ago.

I attended my first Mardi Gras 21 years ago and went to my first Fair Day in 1991, so I’ve been out in the community for a long time, Imrie told Sydney Star Observer. I’ve benefited a lot from being a part of that community, so it got to the point where I started to think it would be good to give something back -“ get involved and contribute rather than just taking.

After researching various GLBT organisations and charities, Imrie felt New Mardi Gras was the one that fitted his aims best.

I’ve always taken an active part in the various events each season and I was very interested in the history of Mardi Gras, the way it came out of a protest, having grown up in Queensland and coming out at a time when homosexuality was still illegal, he said.

It’s still a bit early to start talking about new directions, but over the past few years New Mardi Gras has been about rebirth and developing some level of stability. Now that we’re at a point where we can stay afloat we would like to look at ways we can start to give back to the community which has supported us and hopefully find ways to redistribute funds back into the community.

Imrie said one of the greatest challenges in his role would be to juggle community commitments with the need to keep corporate sponsors on board.

It is a very hard balancing act, he said. There has been considerable corporate involvement in the past which was necessary to rebuild the organisation. We still need that corporate involvement but we are very aware of our commitments and we are very aware of the need to listen to community responses.

While you watch the parade you never think about how much goes into creating and organising events like this. It’s so much bigger than you think and there is a lot of responsibility involved because it is so important to the community. I have some big shoes to fill, but it’s very exciting.

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