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Earl Spencer To Visit NZ For Rail Safety

18 October 2006

Earl Spencer To Visit New Zealand In Support Of Rail Safety

Earl Spencer will make his first visit for two decades to New Zealand as the guest of Toll NZ and former international cricket star Chris Cairns to be the key speaker at a special rail safety fundraising dinner to be held in Auckland in February next year.

The confirmed MC for the dinner will be ex Australian test captain and world renown cricket commentator Richie Benaud.

The dinner will see the official launch of the Chris Cairns Foundation aimed at raising awareness and funds to contribute to greater rail safety in New Zealand. Chris lost his sister Louise on August 25, 1993 after a truck went through a level crossing and hit the passenger train she was travelling in.

Like Chris, Earl Spencer understands what it is like to suddenly lose a very much-loved sister and he is delighted to be able to come to New Zealand to support Chris and the Foundation.

Earl Spencer says, " I am looking forward to my first trip to New Zealand for some time. I have obviously heard a great deal about the beauty of New Zealand from Chris and it's great to be there again to experience this. But most importantly I urge everyone to get right behind his campaign. It will be good to meet as many of you as possible at the dinner on February 17 in Auckland".

Chris Cairns says he first met the Earl through cricket and is absolutely delighted that someone of his standing has agreed to come out to New Zealand to help launch his Foundation.

"I really want the Foundation to make a difference with rail safety in New Zealand.

Since Louise's accident 95 people have lost their lives at road level crossings and I am committed to ensuring that people understand their responsibilities at level crossings and that this number does not continue to grow, "says Chris Cairns.

Toll NZ CEO David Jackson says," Toll are committed to rail safety in all areas and have enjoyed working with Chris Cairns already on a number of successful projects including the Cops in Cabs scheme launched earlier this year in Palmerston North.

"Having such high profile names as Earl Spencer, Richie Benaud and Chris Cairns come together will undoubtedly ensure people do become rail safety conscious and that in turn will save lives so we are extraordinary grateful for their efforts," says Mr Jackson.

Today also saw Chris Cairns announce his intention to walk in February next year from Auckland to Rolleston, the area in which his sister was killed, just south of Christchurch. The walk is aimed at raising funds for rail safety and Chris is urging anyone who has had any involvement with a rail tragedy to support him when he is walking through their area.

The money raised will go towards the already highly successful Tracks are for Trains programme in schools nationwide and to extending the level crossing protection programme so more communities' benefit than current funding allows.

"It is crucial that all money raised goes directly into something tangible that people can benefit directly from," says Chris Cairns.

ENDS

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