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Guide Dog Appeal Luncheon

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A LUNCHEON WITH TOM SCHNACKENBERG RAISES MONEY FOR THE GUIDE DOG APPEAL

Tom Schnackenberg will be in Christchurch today, as guest speaker at a charity luncheon being held being held by the Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind, as part of their annual Guide Dog Appeal.

Brian Keeley, the Foundation's Special event manager for Canterbury says that all 186 tickets to the luncheon, being held at Christchurch Casino's Grand Cafe, sold out very quickly.

"Most of the tables sold to corporate businesses like TVNZ, Telecom, Carter Holt Harvey, WestpacTrust, and More FM with a strong contingent from the Canterbury yachting fraternity" says Brian. "At $65 a head, they snapped the tickets up, which is fantastic news for our Guide Dog Appeal."

The highlight of the luncheon is special guest Tom Schnackenberg, design co-ordinator of Team New Zealand's winning America's Cup boat. "We were thrilled when Tom agreed to donate his time and come and speak at this luncheon," says Brian Keeley.

"He is definitely the drawcard, especially in Canterbury where so many people followed the America's Cup racing with such enthusiasm.

"Tom is speaking about the critical design factors in the Team New Zealand boat that contributed to our America's Cup win, and then he is opening the floor up to questions from our guests."

The Foundation for the Blind is aiming to raise around $10,000 from the luncheon and a small `boutique' auction that follows. Local puppy walker Bridget Fowke and guide dog puppy Alf, a black Labrador Retriever, will greet guests at the door. Luncheon MC is Phil Gifford (from More FM Christchurch and Sports Cafe,) and Bryan Andrews, ex-New Zealand and Canterbury cricket bowler, is the auctioneer. The auction following Tom's speech offers a selective six items for bid: * A rugby ball signed by the Canterbury Crusaders congratulating Team New Zealand for their win, with selected Team NZ members signatures on the other side wishing the Crusaders `the best' in their quest to win the Super12. * Dinner for a table of ten people at the Grand Cafe with transport provided by Crown Limousines * A two thousand dollar advertising package from More FM. * Tom Schnackenberg's Team New Zealand shirt - signed by Tom and worn on the day of the winning race. (Framed.) * A trip for six on Lyttelton Harbour aboard the historic 1903 yawl the Jack Tar with accommodation and breakfast at Godley House, Diamond Harbour that night. Transport provided by Diamond Harbour ferries and Blue Star taxis. * Package of Prada clothing including hat, shirt and bag (not available anywhere else) that was donated by the Prada America's Cup syndicate.

The Foundation for the Blind's Guide Dog Appeal launches nationwide today with a three week retail campaign running until Sunday 7 May - with more the quarter of a million badges produced to raise money for guide dogs and other essential services for blind and sight impaired New Zealanders.

The annual Guide Dog Appeal is officially being celebrated in Christchurch on Friday 28 and Saturday 29 April with street and shopping mall collections.

ENDS

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