Club’s bushfire fundraising effort easily finds target

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The Waitoa Park Golf Club has sent more than $1500 to an Australian town devastated by the recent bushfires.

Club member Noble Roderick, affectionately known as Nobby, had previously worked in Queensland and approached fellow club member Ken Johnson, an Australian nicknamed Skip in reference to kangaroos, saying they had to do something to help people across the Tasman.

“That got me started,” Mr Johnson said.

They managed to collect about $500 from club members, including a generous sum from Mr Roderick to get the fund going.

Then Mr Johnson sat for three hours inside the entrance to Oamaru New World, where further donations took the total to $700.

He wanted to see if he could reach $1000, so he set himself up inside the Countdown supermarket and also did a stint in Thames St.

On Friday, February 7, he was stationed in the entrance to Northside New World.

The final tally was “a bit over $1500”.

Deciding where to send the funds took a serendipitous turn. Mr Johnson’s brother lives in Mogo, a town of about 400 people in New South Wales’ South Coast region.

He was one of the lucky ones, as his house was left standing while three neighbours lost theirs, Mr Johnson said.

When asked who could administer a donation, Mr Johnson’s brother spoke to the politician next door and was told the president of the local chamber of commerce would be ideal.

Mr Johnson then bumped into a resident of Mogo who had been to the Elton John concert in Dunedin and was staying at the Poshtel in Oamaru. She gave him the email address of the chamber of commerce president and the donation was duly lodged.

Mr Johnson said he wanted to thank the Waitoa Park members and the public for their generosity. He was impressed by everyone’s kindness and how those who did not seem to have a lot to spare were happy to help others.

Mr Roderick, who lost his son Tane in the recent road crash near Moeraki, was glad to hear how successful the fundraising campaign had been, Mr Johnson said.