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Sporting Icons “Giving Back

One of Our Most Successful and Endearing Sporting Icons “Giving Back”

2 November 2006

“Giving Back” is the theme of what is believed to be the biggest charity auction event ever for Lower Hutt, by one of this country’s most successful and endearing sporting inspirations. The Billy Graham – Harcourts Charity Auction at 7pm on Thursday 16 November in the Lower Hutt Little Theatre is the brainchild of Billy Graham who recently achieved a lifetime dream by opening ‘Billy’s Boxing Academy’ in Naenae.

A former New Zealand and Australasian light welterweight boxing champion, Billy is better known these days as an energetic and enthusiastic international speaker on goal setting and determination. He has also published books and been the focus of numerous documentaries and news shows including ’60 Minutes’.

Billy said he began life in Lower Hutt with few advantages and started his amazing boxing career as a wee kid with the legendary boxing coach, Dick Dunn in Lower Hutt. With excellent coaching, incredible determination, and a lot of hard work, he became four times Light Welterweight Boxing Champion both in New Zealand and Australasia.

He recently fulfilled his dream of ‘giving back’ by opening a training gym in the former Salvation Army Church Hall to work with local youth in the hope of producing future champions. Pride of place is the ring used in the World Heavyweight fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Bugner in Malaysia.

A former “boy from the Hutt” himself, Harcourts Wellington Business Development Manager, Mark Ferguson became involved in the fundraiser early on and said, “Billy loves people and delights in sharing his zest for living with others, from business leaders to school children. His knowledge, energy and passion are very infectious as he encourages people to achieve their best and make the most of every opportunity. Not only is Billy constantly told how much he has changed the lives of those who hear him speak, he is such an icon that tourist buses have started coming off the motorway to see his boxing academy.”

Mr Ferguson said Billy Graham had been a pivotal figure as a major conference keynote and motivational speaker enjoyed by Harcourts people for many years and it was a pleasure to be involved with this fundraiser which would have such an impact on the local youth and community.

One of Our Most Successful and Endearing Sporting Icons “Giving Back” continued…

Among the many items at the Charity Event which will be auctioned off by prominent Harcourts Business Owner of the Lower Hutt office, and Auctioneer, Eliot Falconer, are:

- Boxing Gloves signed by Jeff Fenech – 3 x Featherweight Champion of the World
- Boxing Gloves signed by Mike Tyson - Heavyweight Champion of the World
- Michael Campbell signed shirt
- Rugby Ball signed by the New Zealand Sevens Team
- Soccer Ball signed by the New Zealand All Whites
- T-Shirt signed by the New Zealand Tall Blacks
- Rugby Boots signed by ex All Black Christian Cullen
- A round of Golf for 10 people and Lessons with Mal Tongue – Famous NZ Golf Coach
- 4 Foot High Granite Stone with Artistic Impression of Muhammed Ali/Cassius Clay outside Billy’s gym – naming rights on plaque
- Motivational Team talk with Billy Graham, and Motivation Team Session with Billy in the Gym
- Motivational Team Building Talk with Gordon Tietjens – NZ Sevens Coach
- A night in the commentary box for a Super 14 match with Rugby Commentator, Grant Nisbett

Mr Ferguson praised the Enterprise Board at the Hutt Valley City Council for its huge support in encouraging local businesses to get involved. With a limit of 300 able to attend the charity auction, Mr Ferguson is expecting a “packed-out” evening. Entrance is by prior registration with a donation at the door on the night. The event will start with jazz entertainment, light refreshments and then Billy Graham providing a main stage keynote prior to the auction commencing.


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