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'Rat Pack' Team To Celebrate 15 Years Of Variety

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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ford 'Rat Pack' Team To Celebrate 15 Years Of Variety Bash Fundraising

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, 14 February 2005

The annual Variety fundraising Bash starts next week – and it's shaping up to be a memorable celebration of 15 years of Bashing in New Zealand.

"Ford has been on board with Variety – The Children's Charity, since day one in New Zealand, and as an organization we're incredibly proud of this long association," said Ford New Zealand Media Relations Manager – and 'Rat Pack' team member - Ed Finn.

"Over these 15 years of Bashing, almost 200 new Fords have been used as official vehicles, which have covered more than 27,000km during 105 days of Bashing."

"In addition, almost 200,000 children at more than 600 schools around the country will have been visited by the Variety Bash, and more than $8.5 million dollars in donations has been raised while more than $2 million dollars has been redistributed in the form of grants en route."

For five time Variety Basher (and Ford New Zealand's National Sales Manager), Mike De Veer, it is the thrill of visiting some of the out of the way communities which makes the Bash such an addictive event.

"Getting to remote parts of the country that I wouldn't usually travel to is really exciting, but it's also the people who we meet during the Bash that make it into the event it is."

"I have kids of my own, and while it's hard leaving them for the week it makes it easier knowing that I'm helping to make a real difference to the lives of people who we meet and present grants to during the Bash."

The Ford team is also fortunate to have one of the country's favourite comedians with them for the Bash – New Zealand's best known Westie - Ewen Gilmour.

"Ewen is an absolute classic – he can see the humour in every situation, but also is very compassionate and caring. I know it will be a laugh a minute having Ewen in our 1963 Zephyr, and he will also be providing a lot of laughter for Bashers and other people who we meet along the way," added Mr. Finn.

Variety Bash updates will screen immediately prior to 3 News, commencing on Friday 25 February and concluding with an event wrap up on Friday 4 March.

2005 VARIETY BASH ROUTE AND TIMINGS

DATE START LUNCH FINISH
Sat 26 February 9.00am
Puke Ariki Landing
New Plymouth 12.40pm
War Memorial Hall Stratford 5.00pm
New Plymouth
Sun 27 9.00am
New Plymouth 1.00pm
Hicks Memorial Park Hawera 4.30pm
Kowhai Park Wanganui
Mon 28 8.00am
Castlecliff School & Wanganui East School Wanganui 12.50pm
Town Hall
Taihape 4.30pm
Suncourt Reserve Taupo
Tuesday 1 March 8.00am
McDonald’s
Taupo 12.40pm
Tokoroa 4.00pm
Memorial Park Tauranga
Wed 2 8.00am
Tauranga 12.50pm
Area School
Whangamata 5.15pm
Whitianga
Thurs 3 7.30am
Mercury Bay Area School
Whitianga 12.35pm
Parawai School
Thames 5.00pm
Chartwell Hamilton
Fri 4 7.30am
Hamilton
9.40am
Te Awamutu
11.30am
Raglan 2.45pm
Grand Finale Street Parade
Hamilton

(Please note that the approximate times listed above are subject to change - depending on weather, road conditions and the like)

www.variety.org.nz


# # #

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures and distributes automobiles in 200 markets across six continents. With more than 328,000 employees worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Aston Martin, Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercury and Volvo. Its automotive-related services include Ford Credit, Quality Care and Hertz. Ford Motor Company celebrated its 100th anniversary on June 16, 2003.

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