NSW Variety Presents Sunshine Coach to Bourke and District Children’s Services

Giving is what the Variety Bash is all about, and what better way to celebrate that on the 30th year anniversary then presenting a Variety Sunshine Coach to Bourke and District Children’s Services.

The preschool cares for 85 children, most of which do not have family vehicles. Barry, the school’s bus driver, was making two or three round trips daily to take the kids to and from pre-school but the old bus finally had to be retired. Variety and the Shirley Ward Foundation are very pleased to donate the gift of mobility to this great service so they can continue their work with these beautiful children.

In my volunteer role as a Grants Committee Member specialising in Sunshine Coaches this organisation was my responsibility. It was a very proud moment to see this coach presented and the children it serves.

2014 Bourke Sunshine Coach Presentation

2014 Alexandra Ritchi Bourke

BT1 – the Baggage Truck

Monday, August 4 – Kiwi Pig Brendon arrived and I met him with a boot full of things to load at the Buggage Truck. All good….

The boot

BT1 – the bdouble donated to Variety by Doherty Trucks from Wollongong. How glad are we to be able to put our camping gear, giveaways and extra items on that truck. Our boot is full with our two tyres,110 litre fuel tank and spares. No room for luggage.


Final Car Preps

Saturday was the day to do a final check over and sort the boot. More pink…

Car Pink Packing

Then the Shoo Roos which hopefully will keep the skippys and emus away from us on the road. And a touch of Purple Polish to shine up the bumper.

Shoo Roos

Then a revamp of the tool kit – 100 mph tape, WD40, champagne, cider and gummy gears. All set!

Tool Kit

Finally wig balancing…. before Meet and Greet at St Marys RSL – a great sponsor of the Variety Bash.

Wig balancing

Pigs will fly!!!

At ChequePoint day last Sunday, July 26 at Hunter Holden Hamlet got fitted with new flags.

The old ones had been ‘flapped off’ to the second pig! They usually last 3-4 years, and being the 30th Anniversary of the NSW Bash – we needed new colour.

Thanks to John Vaughan from Australiana Flags – dont they look great! Also thanks to Arthur Duffield and Kevin from Car 1905 and Max Squires from the Dick Smith car who helped me engineer them onto the car.

20140727_New Flags

Pink Packing

The last stages of Bash prep are coming along. Most importantly is the explosion of Pink gear which the Little Pigs need to make a good impact on the road.

Pink Packing

A few things to go and then bags packed and ready for the baggage truck loading on August 4.

Pigs are almost ready to fly!!!

Harry’s first taste of independence

The generous $2,610 contribution from Variety, the Children’s Charity towards a walker has given four-year-old Harry Davenport the priceless gift of hope.

Harry in his walking frame

Harry has the developmental age of a six-month old, cannot walk or speak, is severely vision impaired and needs help for all of his self-care requirements. He attends The Infants’ Home school at Ashfield five days a week, where he regularly accesses specialised teaching from occupational and play therapists, and a speech therapist is slowly showing him some sign language to enable him to communicate with others.

Harry’s walker has made an unbelievable difference to his quality of life. His mother Emma explains, “During the week the walker stays at school, and Harry spends most of his time in it. He adores being around his school friends, loving nothing more than being immersed in all of the noise and activities, such as music and painting. He’s a very popular boy, and in his walker he is at eye level with his peers, which is vital for meaningful interaction with them, and he, most amazingly, he can now even propel himself for short distances, giving Harry his first taste of independence.
“The walker is extraordinary. It’s sturdy and large, and encourages him to stand and move. It has a dynamic movement on a suspension system, to mimic a walking movement, and he sits in a little saddle. The walker enables him to put weight on his legs, which will make them stronger, and there is now a good chance that in the future he may be able to actually stand, unaided, and there is a possibility that he could eventually be able to walk.”

Harry and family

As Harry’s only options for communicating are crying, laughing and yelling, he can have quite challenging behaviour issues, but is slowly and surely achieving new milestones. He can now feed himself, and while he’s been assessed as being legally blind, his vision does seem to be improving, in fact this year, for the first time, he made and held direct eye contact with his Mum.

Emma says, “We wish to express our gratitude to Variety for the enormously positive impact the walker has made to our family’s life. You’ve made such a difference to a little boy’s life. Everything we invest in now is to help make Harry’s future the best it can be. Even though Andy and I both work full-time, the money we earn is not enough to buy all of the special equipment, therapy and schooling that Harry requires, and we’re so thankful to Variety for helping us to help Harry.

Wonderful Woollies

During 2013 and again in 2014 Woolworths has nominated Variety as their charity of choice. Many Fresh Food Days have been held and Little Pigs have been lucky to go to three Woolworths and help raise over $2,500 for our special needs kids. Thanks to Marsfield, Mt Annan and Brookvale.

Marsfield Woolworths Dec 6, 2013

Marsfield Woolworths Dec 6, 2013

Ably assisted by Frogette Alexis

Ably assisted by Frogette Alexis

Manager Nick Caboche and wonderful staff at Marsfield.

Manager Nick Caboche and wonderful staff at Marsfield.

Gail and Sallymae Mt Annan March 1, 2014

Gail and Sallymae Mt Annan March 1, 2014

Generous, happy shoppers at Mt Annan

Generous, happy shoppers at Mt Annan

Pig in Training - Hayley

Pig in Training – Hayley

Brookvale Woolworths  July 25, 2014

Brookvale Woolworths July 25, 2014

Our first BBQ customer Kate - Graeme Wong gave her a Variety heart as well!

Our first BBQ customer Kate – Graeme Wong gave her a Variety heart as well!

2013 Bash Report

Ok so I know it is now only just over 5 weeks until 2014 Bash and this report should have been posted in September 2013. Better late than never.

Car 333 had a very successful 2013 Bash Bankstown to Ballarat trip and finished ‘strong’ at Ballarat. We only had two crew – myself and Brendon Morron completing his 3rd year as trusty crew. Very handy with the spanners, excellent driver and wonderful crew member.

Spirit of the Bash was won by B1 and B2 our famous Bananas – lucky I got such a good picture of them at the start. Good job guys!

Here is a selection of photo highlights:

The Start - B1 and B2

The Start – B1 and B2

Big Hog Little Pig

Big Hog Little Pig

Daily Start

Daily Start

On the Road

On the Road

Birdsville Track

Birdsville Track

Priceline Kids

Priceline Kids

Brendon with the kids

Brendon with the kids

A little pig in training -  Birdsville

A little pig in training – Birdsville

Sunset icecreams with  Stuart Telfer, Bash Director and the Icecreaminator

Sunset icecreams with Stuart Telfer, Bash Director and the Icecreaminator

Pigs in Mud - it was very slippery!!

Pigs in Mud – it was very slippery!!

Get off the road - roadtrain coming through!

Get off the road – roadtrain coming through!

Almost to the end!  Coffee at the cafe anyone?

Almost to the end! Coffee at the cafe anyone?

On the road again…

Today I took out Hamlet, the bash car for a run since the major repairs after our big trip to Cape York and back. I was joined by my neice Michelle and great neice Keira and her friend Amy. Pigs in trainings…

Little Pigs out on a sunny day at Bobbin Head - Keira and Amy

Keira and Amy

It was a glorious day and we had lunch at the Galley Cafe, at the Marina. The girls enjoyed feeding the fish that swam in swarms in the water near the cafe wharf.

A good spin, lots of windy bits, steep climbs out from the Hawksberry. All systems go.

Hamlet PIG 82B

Hamlet PIG 82B

Sarah’s Life Changed with a Wig!

Sarah enjoying a normal life

At two years old, Sarah and her family began noticing patches of Sarah’s hair falling out and she was diagnosed with a mild form of alopecia. While doctors believed that it would clear up as she got older, in the subsequent years, the hair loss worsened and by the age of seven, she had severe alopecia acreata, a condition where individuals can lose their hair permanently, for which there is currently no known cure.

The impact on all aspects of Sarah’s life was devastating as her mother, Kendra, explains, “When she turned seven she had lost almost all her hair and she was forced to wear a hat permanently. This severely affected her self-confidence and as a result she became very withdrawn; she was reluctant to attend events like school carnivals and wouldn’t engage with her friends. It wasn’t she received a special suction wig when she started high school, with the help of the Variety that Sarah began to get her life back. The wig, with its special suction mechanism allowed Sarah to go swimming and play sports and feel like a young girl should.”

“The wig has just completely changed her life” said Kendra.