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Russell Raises Heaps For Tsunami Victims

Mon, 31 Jan 2005

The community of Russell - population something like 800 residents - has now raised over $58,000 for victims of the Boxing Day Tsunami.

The final event in a series organised by charitable trust Enterprise Russell was the auction held yesterday. Over $27,000 was raised from the goods and services auctioned.

"We were donated a wide variety of items," said John Agace, Trustee of Enterprise Russell. "The community was marvellous - we had trips and accommodation donated, household goods and new artwork - all from local people and groups, even things like dance club membership and French lessons."

"But of course the key item was the yacht of Kent McLachlan, which came with its own dinghy and mooring."

Kent's wife, Mary, died a year ago of cancer. After the Boxing Day tsunami Kent decided that rather than sell the boat he would like to see the proceeds go to help those whose lives had been so tragically affected by the tsunami.

It was a fitting way to celebrate Mary, who was a person who lived her life to the full, and was always helping others. He had bought the yacht as a Valentine's Day gift to Mary 12 years ago.

"I couldn't be happier with the result," he said at the end of the day. "The new owners are lovely people, live near here and are just going to love Bubblicious."

"The yacht meant a lot to me and Mary. She named it after her favourite brand of bubble gum. There are a lot of happy memories on board her."

Originally from Canada, Kent is a much loved Russell personality. When the bidding ended he received a standing ovation.

Also very happy were the owners of Just Imagine, an innovative new store in Russell, who donated a spectacular red, yellow and green Murano glass koru. Valued at over $3,000 the koru was made by Romano Dona, the artist is noted for his artistry, simple shapes and very bold colours.

"Koru represents new life and new beginnings," said Cris Ewbank from Just Imagine, who donated the sculpture. "We chose it because it represents hope for the people who will be rebuilding their lives after the tragedy."

Lucky draw entries raised more than $2,000 over the month of January; throughout the auction participants and audience were making donations continued to put their names in until at the end of the event the Far North District Mayor, Yvonne Sharp, drew out the name of a Kerikeri resident.

ENDS

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