Olympic heroes help raise cash

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Olympic champions, a former Wallaby great and 430 Nelsonians helped raise a staggering $40,000 for the Haven Sports Trust last Friday night.

The annual dinner was the first dinner function to be held at the brand new conference centre at the Rutherford Hotel and organiser Jeff Rackley says he was extremely happy with the night. “I thought the speakers were excellent and just bloody good people. The number of photographs I think the rowers appeared in is testament to how popular they were and Phil Kearns was just a lovely bloke.”

MC John McBeth entertained the crowd and helped set the tone for former Wallaby hooker, turned rugby commentator, Phil Kearns who told tales of his infamous encounters with All Black hooker Sean Fitzpatrick.

Olympic rowing champions Hamish Bond and Eric Murray were then interviewed by McBeth and the duo had the crowd in fits of laughter and were happy to mix and mingle with guests.

Hamish told the crowd that he’d worked out how many practice strokes went into preparing for the Olympic final.

“Over the four years we trained for it, we did 15,000 practice strokes for each stroke in the final. So the lead off stroke was practiced 15,000 times, etc.”

There were also plenty of jokes directed towards Eric’s upcoming fight with Warriors rugby league star Manu Vatuvei in the Fight for Life.

Jeff says it’s a heck of a lot of work to put together but he’s happy the people of Nelson continue to support it. “We had a trip to the Chatham Islands that went for $6250 and Outward Bound went for $5000 and $2900 for Brian Strong’s painting, which is really good.”

The dinner is the major fundraiser for the trust, which also has four benefactors, Golden Edge, NBS, Rzoska Engineering Electrical Solutions and WHK.