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Our heroes trust update

Our heroes trust update

Tue, 4 May 2004

4 May 2004

The fund established to send 75 veteran soldiers to the 60th anniversary commemorations of the Battle of Montecassino, in Italy, needs only about $130,000 to reach its target.

The Our Heroes Trust was established to raise over half a million dollars to send 75 of the veterans who missed out in the Government ballot for the commemorations at Montecassino.

The ages of the veterans range from the mid-seventies to late eighties. Many of them openly acknowledge this is their last chance to see their old Montecassino battlefield and visit the cemetery where over 300 of their mates are buried.

Our Heroes Trust fundraising organiser Greg Evans of Christchurch said a total of $370,000 had been received so far from the 0900 number, cheques and donations at the Bank of New Zealand, pledges and a subsidy per veteran from Veterans' Affairs.

This had enabled payment of travel and accommodation deposits for the 75 veterans. Originally $560,000 was the fundraising target but this had since been pruned by $60,000 thanks to help from airlines and hotels.

"We are hearing amazing stories from some of these old guys, including many who were so keen to fight for their country that they enlisted underage," said Mr Evans.

An instant $20 donation can be made to the Our Heroes Trust by calling 0900 437 637, or donations can be deposited at any branch of the Bank of New Zealand into the Our Heroes Trust account.

Meanwhile, the Trust has organised a voluntary medical team of five to accompany the veterans when they leave on 13 May.

The team comprises two doctors, two nurses and a St John paramedic, and is headed by Christchurch doctor Victoria Flight.

Dr Flight is also recommending to the Trust which veterans can make the trip.


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