Three days, six schools, 1000 kids entertained and over $8000 raised for Variety – The Children’s Charity made for a very busy weekend for the teams and volunteers taking part in the 20th Variety Trillian Mini Bash.
But for the 80-odd participants, mostly in fancy dress and driving themed and classic cars and fire engines, the event’s success was not measured in kilometres driven or dollars raised, but by the smiles on kids faces as Bash teams turned up with sirens blazing, disgorged costumed characters, and handed out gifts. Balloons and beach balls, toothbrushes and sweets, goody bags from the Brain Injured Children’s Trust to kids at some of the schools and tours of the fire engines all went down a treat with the children, but there was more to the event than the parades.
Kids and adults alike love watching fire-appliance water fights. Here BestStart (Tauranga) takes on Mooloo (Cambridge) on Waipa School playing field Picture/ Jacqui Madelin.
The crews donated a glasshouse to Taupiri School, six BMX bikes to deserving children nominated by their schools – and the keys to a Ford Sunshine Coach to Kawhia preschool, news greeted with cheers by stunned parents who thought they’d brought their kids along for a free sausage sizzle and some entertainment, until the Stihl Shop Silverdale Thunderbirds arrived, in the heart-bedecked minivan.
Taupiri School Deputy Principal Cindy Yelling with the cheque donated to the school for a greenhouse, and some of her pupils - inside the structure being erected behind them by volunteers from the NZAF. Several nominated children also received BMX bikes during the Variety Trillian Mini Bash visit. Picture/Jacqui Madelin.
“The Bash events are more than just fun for the kids we visit, or scenic tours for the folk that take part,” said Bash director Murray ‘Mojo’ O’Donnell. “Having this colourful convoy turn up in rural areas reminds local families that there’s a charity able to help their kids with the hand-up they need, whether it’s equipment for their school or education, or specialist items for children with disabilities.”
Kids at the 117-pupil Hamilton North School for kids with special needs gets acquainted with Mickey and Mini Mouse. Picture/Jacqui Madelin
And that convoy comes at a price – for those taking part. For each team captain must pay a generous donation to take part, whether raised from sponsors, or by running events or, for some, simply by digging deep into their own pockets.For long-term Hamilton Basher Murray ‘Muzza’ Creighton, who’s taken part for 20 years, the last few in a smiley-face fire appliance, and whose team privately supports some local Waikato kids, it’s all about being able to do that little bit to help children who’ve been dealt a difficult hand to look beyond that and grow towards a better future.
Shoulder-tapped at the finish in Hamilton, he said, “It’s been a privilege to be involved with such a warm-hearted band, and make a difference to Kiwi Kids.”
For pics and YouTube clips, see facebook.com/VarietyNZBash