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Women's Refuge: Running for fun... not from fear

Running for fun... not from fear

As you’d expect, there’s big support for champagne in the park – thanks to bra-maker Berlei that is. Berlei Champagne in the Park is a series of four national, women-only charity fun runs on November 14 to raise funds for NZ Women’s Refuge. Model and celebrity Nicky Watson is the ‘face’ of the fund-raiser.

L to R - Fiona McDonald, Peggy Bourne, Nicky Watson, John Bowden (event organiser), Diana Hubbard (Mayoress of Auckland) warm up for Berlei Champagne in the Park fun run.

L to R - Nicky Watson, Janet Lake (Women's Refuge) and Diana Hubbard (Mayoress of Auckland) launch Berlei Champagne in the Park, a national fundraising event to raise funds for Women's Refuge.

And she’s getting plenty of help from celebrity friends Peggy Bourne, Mayoress Diana Hubbard, Fiona McDonald, Stacey Daniels and Pauline Gillespie who are getting behind the event to help raise awareness.

Supporting them all is Berlei, with a special Nicky Watson-endorsed NZ Women’s Refuge fundraising sports bra sold exclusively in Farmers stores. For every one of the bras sold – at an entirely reasonable $34.95 – Berlei is donating $5 to the Women’s Refuge.

The fun runs – in Auckland , Wellington , Christchurch and Dunedin – comprise a 5km run or walk followed by the Berlei Champagne Breakfast and Prize-giving. For mums, a free crèche is in operation at each event and a women’s expo is planned. Entry fee is $20 and there are spot prizes of clothing, products, accommodation vouchers and sponsor gift bags.

An inaugural Women’s Refuge charity fun run was held in Auckland in 2003 and this year it has extended to four centres.

“When we heard from Women’s Refuge that more than 24,000 woman and children utilise their services annually,” says Berlei’s Katrina van Dijk, “we felt strongly that the social problems these woman and children face deserve greater awareness and publicity in the wider community.

“We are obviously very much involved in the lives of women and we have for some time wanted to become involved in supporting New Zealand women.

“If you’re female, please join us on November 14 – who can resist a glass of bubbles and a good cause?”

Nicky Watson says she supports Women's Refuge because her mum was a victim of domestic violence in her first marriage.

“I believe domestic violence is a social concern that affects us all whether we're exposed to it directly or not. Violence is taught and statistics prove that the majority of children who grow up in abusive environments go on to be violent in adulthood. So it's a vicious circle that needs to be eradicated.

“I would say to fellow kiwis that Women's Refuge deserves everybody's support because we all have the fundamental right to live free from violence. Together as a nation we must stand up for the women and children who have had this right taken from them,” she says.

National co-ordinator for NZ Women’s Refuge, Roma Balzer, says Berlei Champagne in the Park is an extraordinary event.

“We have received wonderful support from both the community and a number of high profile New Zealanders publicly demonstrating their commitment to stopping violence against women and children in this country.

“Women’s Refuge was established in New Zealand thirty years ago, so this year in particular, there is a sense of celebration and unity amongst our supporters demonstrated by this phenomenal event, Berlei Champagne in the Park.

“A Women’s Refuge volunteer force will be working alongside the many volunteers and organisers that are necessary to manage such a large event in more than one location at the same time. We are more than grateful for everyone’s support,” Ms Balzer says. ends

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