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Community asset . . . Tokarahi Golf Club president Mike Lory and Tokarahi Charity Ball committee member Sarah Stalker are thrilled to have a defibrillator for the community. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Since its inception, the Tokarahi Charity Ball has been raising money for lifesaving causes.

Proceeds from the first ball went to the Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust, and North Otago St John benefited from the second.

This year, thanks to the fundraising efforts of the Tokarahi community and a grant from Network Waitaki, the Tokarahi Golf Club is now equipped with a new defibrillator.

Tokarahi Charity Ball committee member Sarah Stalker said the golf club — a community hub with members young and old — was the perfect place for the defibrillator, which could be used by anyone.

The first charity ball was held in 2016.

It was an opportunity to bring the community together and raise money for the Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust, after a local family had required its services, Mrs Stalker said.

‘‘Honestly, the work that they do — and it’s a lifeline for us living in a rural community. We need that helicopter. It’s a whole lot quicker than the ambulance,’’ she said.

‘‘That’s how it started — to have some fun, have a laugh and raise some money.’’

This year, the ball was held just before the August lockdown, and Covid had disrupted fundraising progress.

Struggling to make the funds raised meet the cost of a defibrillator — ‘‘with lockdown, it was that bit harder’’ — Mrs Stalker successfully applied for a Network Waitaki grant.

She was ‘‘so grateful’’ for the electricity lines company’s support.

‘‘I think because we live in such a rural community, we need these lifelines,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s such a wonderful asset for our community, so I’m rapt we’ve made it happen.’’

She also thanked the ‘‘numerous local families, local sponsors and the Tokarahi Golf Club members and committee’’ for their help.

‘‘As we know, North Otago stands together in time of need and we appreciate the support local businesses and community members have given us.

‘‘This is a key community asset and a true lifeline in a rural community, as every second counts.’’

A workshop would be held next week to train local golf club members and community members how to use the defibrillator.

‘‘It’s all very well having a defib there, but I don’t want anyone to be scared of it,’’ Stalker said.

‘‘I’m hoping with the training that will give the confidence . . .for people to be able to use it.’’

Anyone interested in attending should contact Mrs Stalker at sarahstalkercelebrant@gmail.com or a Tokarahi Golf Club member.