Wanganui Surf Lifeguard Service Inc received $16,000 on Friday, January 9, from JJ Roofing’s Running of the Balls annual charity event, held at Anniversary Weekend, as part of the Plumber Dan Soapbox Derby.
The money will go towards the building of a lifeguard tower to enable faster response time and efficiencies for the lifeguards at Castlecliff Beach.
There were 1500 numbered balls let to roll down the steep hill on Drews Ave in Whanganui, during the lunchtime break for the Soapbox Derby.
Lifeguards were demonstrating rescue situations opposite Whanganui River Markets on Vintage Weekend.
The 1500 tickets sold out before the event saw lifeguards actively involved in selling the tickets, with the three winning prizes going to people from Thames, Australia and Whanganui. A bucket shake through the crowd on event day added $700 and a last-minute gesture on Friday bumped up the total fundraising to $16,000.
“It’s a real testament when like-minded people came together to make the JJ Roofing event a success, and sponsors wrapped themselves around us and showed their support,” said Juan Coffey of JJ Roofing, whose wife Janelle was instrumental in the fundraising.
“The event took two and a half minutes to complete, but involved months of planning and selling tickets. The engagement from the public this year was fantastic. We feel proud that as the years go by, other charities will be able to benefit.
“People from out of town say Whanganui is a very giving place and a very tight-knit community. The recipient charity this year, Wanganui Surf Lifeguard Service, does a lot of really good work for the community, saving lives,” he said.
Bex Sharratt, the Wanganui Surf Lifeguard Service public relations and communications member, said JJ Roofing has put an event on the community calendar.
“This is a true example of business and community creating good,” she said.
Shaun Libeau, chairman of Wanganui Lifeguard Service Inc, presented an award for the Manaakitanga shown by JJ Roofing.
Dan Comp, lifeguard, supervisor and junior surf coach, also announces during carnival days.
“We’re one of the few clubs in New Zealand that patrols two beaches - Castlecliff and Kai Iwi,” he said. “That’s double the rescues, double the training.
“We’ve been busy with rescues this season, one of the busiest in a decade. One day we carried out 11 rescues, then a week later 15 in an hour.
“Having a tower will make us quicker, and more effective, in getting to rescues to provide assistance and treatment. Both beaches are quite scenic but can be dangerous.
“We’re working out what works best in the environment at our beach. We’ve run design workshops with our lifeguards who will be using the equipment.
“The last few years have seen an increase in tourists making Whanganui a destination, and this has been reflected in them being part of the rescues at the beaches. We’ve got the most beautiful sunsets on the West Coast.”
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