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Resene And Ruakaka Back Kiwi Kids through Variety

Resene And Ruakaka Back Kiwi Kids through Variety

Bittersweet memories as Resene team Fire Tender enters

Trillian Variety Bash charity rally


Resene and Smurfs, entertaining kids: credit, Jacqui Madelin

Ruakaka resident Marc Sands says the 2015 Trillian Variety Bash will be a bittersweet event for the Resene Construction fund-raising team, for long-time teammate John Axnick will not be along this year after losing a battle with cancer.

“John lost the fight on January 14, and his passing will leave a huge hole. But a month earlier he’d told us he wanted his wife and daughters to join us on this year’s event, marking a quarter century of Variety Bash rallies, so he’ll be with us in spirit come March 6.”

‘The Bash’ is very much a family-focussed road rally, and it was Marc’s wife who first talked him into going along to raise funds for Kiwi kids, “As long as she comes too.”

That was 18 years ago, and Marc and Ngaire Cotton have been bitten by the fund-raising bug. But it’s not just seeing smiles on children’s faces that keeps them going, for the Trillian Variety Bash is more than just a fundraiser.

The rules mandate a classic or quirky vehicle, and the routes emphasize the back of beyond – to reach the kids who never normally see a Christmas parade or a well-known face, to call in at our smaller, often cash-strapped rural schools, and to ensure the hard-working fundraisers who raise a generous donation to go along also get to travel interesting roads and visit our beautiful back-block country.

Marc and Ngaire have owned their 1967 Bedford fire truck since 1998, and acquired the numberplate ‘4KIDZ’ to suit the work it now does. “We have sirens and water capability,” he says with a grin, but it’s not the water fights that keep them going.

“We started Bashing to give something back to the children of New Zealand, and this was a great way to contribute – and see the country at the same time. But we also love the Bash ‘family’, all the crews have a lot of fun raising funds and donating grants.”

So much fun that even hitch-hikers get in on the action. “John Axnick joined us in 1995 – he was waiting for us by the side of the road in Stratford, we picked him up and he enjoyed it so much he kept on coming. He and his wife flew over from Melbourne every year to join the team, and of course his family will fly over to help Kiwi kids this March.”

The Variety ‘Bash’ is named for old-style bush-bashing. It is not a race, and the teams work hard in the lead-up to raise a minimum entry donation to take part, then try to raise more along the route, which for this year’s 25th event leaves New Plymouth on March 6, then travels via Wellington and up the East Coast, to end at Motat in Auckland on March 14. Along the way the convoy will deliver grants and entertainment to schools, hospitals, disability and sports groups and individual children who need a hand, be it specialist learning or medical equipment, mobility devices, books or sports kit, or even a Ford Sunshine Coach.

The rally is fun, but it’s also time-consuming keeping the fire tender going and raising the funds, Marc says. “Fundraising can be hard work – so we’re grateful to our sponsors, Resene Construction Systems, Alchemis Coatings, Corporate Academy Group and Bream Bay Coatings – but it’s rewarding, and we love the Bash ethos that says doing good doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself, too.”

“We’ll be sad not to have John with us when the rally launches,” Marc says, “But what better way to celebrate a life well lived.”
ends

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