The organiser of a vintage car show prayed for good weather and his efforts paid off, especially for the charity they support.
Marlborough’s Cancer Society received a massive windfall after the well-attended car show raised several thousands of dollars.
The popular Vintage Car Club Daffodil Day Vehicle Display smashed previous records, making nearly double the amount of last year’s show.
$17,500 was raised for the charity, with about 4000 Marlburians attending the show.
Organiser Kelly Landon-Lane says he got corns on his knees praying for fine weather for the third annual display.
And it worked, the day was one of the warmest and sunniest of the month.
“The weather leading up wasn’t great, but on the day – they [weather forecasters] got it a bit wrong,” Kelly says.
A cheque was presented by Organiser Bob O’Malley to Cancer Society Marlborough centre manager Felicity Spencer at a morning tea ceremony at the Vintage Car Clubs clubroom at Brayshaw Park on Wednesday.
Felicity says they were “overwhelmed” by the amount the Vintage Car Club made for the charity.
“It’s such an awesome effort, and they took all the initiative to run the event,” she says.
More than 50 generous local businesses contributed to the successful show.
“The support has been absolutely superb,” Kelly says.
“We had a figure in our mind when we started, around $15,000, and we made more than that.
“It’s progressed from $8000, to $9000 to more than $17,000 this year.
“You got to thank the people that turned up on the day.”
Bob says most families are affected “in one way or another” by cancer.
The money raised will go towards a new supportive care nurse hired by the society and to establish support groups for people affected by cancer in the region.
“The public really get behind us, it’s just incredible,” Bob says.
Kelly says the support from the community has been overwhelming.
“Hopefully we can keep the ball rolling and build on the event for next year,” he says.
A charity bid to help provide pyjamas to children in foster care needs to upsize its storage in a bid to cope with demand.
Foster Hope Marlborough urgently needs a new storage shed as kind-hearted Marlburians gift goodies to the charity.
The popular initiative stores and sorts donations of pyjamas, clothes, toys and other gifts from across the Top of the South
But local Foster Hope coordinator Leonie McLachlan is running out of room.
“This is such an amazing, giving community and this is a fabulous problem to have,” she says.
The Blenheim mum of four, who has been a foster parent for 22 years, has boxes of donations in her living room and in storage sheds in the garden.
Foster Hope arranged for a shed to be installed but it only holds a fraction of the donations.
With the need for help high, Leonie hopes someone may be able to help in some way- through supplying a shed or sleep out, helping to build it or supplying the materials needed.
Gifts come into Blenheim from across Marlborough and the Nelson Tasman areas before being distributed back to both regions.
The charity also provides help to children under the care of Oranga Tamariki and The Open Home Foundation.
“I have also provided clothing and pyjamas through the hospital social workers both here and in Nelson as well as Grandparents Raising Grandchildren and Fostering Kids and pyjamas to the Woman’s Refuge,” says Leonie.
“I need something here on my property rather than a storage unit as I sort out the donations once the kids are in bed. It’s a big job.
“Ideally it needs to be lined and insulated so the clothes don’t go mouldy or get damp.”
Building regulations means the maximum size must not be bigger than 10 metres square.
As a registered charity, Foster Hope can provide a receipt for any donations.
“I absolutely love what I do, I just love it and any help would be much appreciated,” Leonie says.
Fear of suffering a fatal bleed has compelled a fourth-generation Picton farmer to ditch meat for good.
Dawn Chorus chairman James Wilson, 78, suffered two embolisms and believed he was at risk of an internal bleed.
Scared he might die, the conservationist made a nerve-wracking decision, to stop his blood thinning medication.
Once a confirmed “anti-vegan” the father of four adopted a whole-food plant-based lifestyle (WFPB).
“I suffered a pulmonary embolism after an operation for a snapped Achilles tendon.
“Twenty years later I suffered a second, more minor embolism, and due to my history, I was put on warfarin “for life”.
“My health and well-being were less than adequate on this medicine and I worried that I might well suffer a fatal internal bleed.
“Despite medical warnings to the contrary, due to the damage of blood vessels around my heart, I resolved to go off Warfarin, he says.
James, who says he has lost 20kg, has written a book, Plant Paradigm, about his efforts in a bid to encourage others to follow in his footsteps.
“Plant Paradigm, while forcibly putting the case for a whole-food plant-based lifestyle, includes practical answers to many of the frequently asked questions expressed by people considering a change to their way of living,” James says.
A radio interview was the catalyst for his new eating regime.
James says he heard an interview where a doctor spoke of damaged blood vessels being repaired in people following a whole plant food-based diet.
It took him six weeks to settle into the new regime and says he has noticed a dramatic cut in the number of viral illnesses he gets.
“As soon as the interview was over, I made an immediate switch, I was lucky that I was driven by the fear of death.
Subsequently, I feel something like ten years younger than I did, I have suffered almost no colds, no flu and no other similar ailments that I had previously suffered from and considerably less than are normal for a man of my age,” he says.
James says while most of his friends have stuck to their non-vegan ways, some are “closet” vegans.
“I also was upset by many people who were super critical of me in the early days and wanted them to read my reasons for going vegan.
“Then as I aged and became interested in the ecology and finally recognised the cruelty imposed on all farm animals by all farmers.
“So, I guess I started writing it with anger, but by the time I published it the world had moved on
“Ultimately I published it to simply encourage people to go vegan for the pragmatic reasons of health, environmental relief and the avoidance of animal cruelty.”
Marlborough Media has two copies of James Wilson’s new book, Pant Paradigm, to give away.
Staying silent about mental health is one of New Zealand’s biggest problems, says 31-year-old father of three, Lee Griggs.
But rocking the pram holding his sleeping son, Lee defys that trope; choosing instead to speak candidly about how mental illness impacted his life, and how he is fighting back.
Originally from Suffolk in the south east of England, Lee says how has struggled with mental illness his entire life.
Highs and lows, anxiety and depression have ebbed and flowed throughout his life at different times, he says.
“I was a very shy child,” Lee says.
“That sort of progressed into not being able to make friends.”
Now a vineyard machinery operator in the Awatere Valley, Lee says he has always felt uncomfortable and awkward in social situations.
“I isolated myself, away from people and social interactions, all the way through high school,” he says.
Only in the last few years at his UK high school did Lee manage to build a group of friends, and then, his family moved to New Zealand.
Aged 19, in a new country with no friends Lee once again found himself isolated.
“When I left high-school, I had quite good mental health and a hold on that social anxiety. I had confidence in myself,” he says.
“Coming here, you leave all that support network, all those friends you’ve built up, all your family and just the familiarity of day to day life.
“You start again at square one and it set if back off, basically.”
But Lee discovered hope and while by no means does he consider himself ‘cured’, he is proud of how far he has come.
As he talks about how defeated the illness, his passion is clear in his voice.
“I always think the most important thing with mental health is getting people opening up and talking about they’re everyday feelings.
“Stopping people at the top of the cliff rather than being the ambulance at the bottom.
“We’re a developed country, we’ve got a lot of intelligent people but for some reason we’ve got the highest suicide rate in the OECD.
“It’s sort of that toughen up, give yourself a concrete pill mentality.
“Whereas it actually needs to be a reverse of that,” Lee says.
Lee says getting people to talk about their everyday problems, as they happen, rather than bottling them up is key.
“If people are more willing to open up when they’re having a bad day, and us as humans were a little bit more skilled in how to help people in their lives, if we could do that as a nation, the culture in New Zealand could be a lot different.
He says his social anxiety, the fear of being around people and knowing what to say and how to interact, caused him to isolate himself.
“If you’re not around people, you’re not scared of it…But then you’re alone.
“And it’s a pretty lonely world, and that brings on depression.
“Luckily, I did have my family.
“They were my support network and I ended up coming out the other side of it.”
Lee says a decision to travel was the turning point in his illness.
“It was pure escapism really.
“As soon as I lifted that and said bugger it, I’m going travel, the whole thing lifted off me.”
But Lee never went travelling.
While saving for his trip, Lee met his wife, Ally and stayed in Marlborough.
“I just wanted to run away from it all, be on the road where I could have fleeting conversations with people.
“I think that was what initially lifted the focus on the social anxiety which enabled me to go out and focus on moving,” he says.
Lee says he never took medication or attended counselling for his mental illness.
“That makes me think it probably wasn’t that bad… but it felt bad enough,” he says.
“That gave me the empathy to go, if I felt that bad, how do other people feel that have gone further, getting medication or even worse, taking their own life?”
Then, in 2016, the 7.8 Kaikoura earthquake rocked the rural town of Seddon.
“It made me realise it wasn’t just me,” Lee says.
“I saw quite a lot of people, especially the children, have anxiety issues as well.
“There’s a lot of people out there that suffer, and it needed to be spoken about.
Lee decided then he wanted to do something to raise awareness for mental health issues.
With a background in competitive road cycling and a passion for running, he knew he had the ability to do a physical challenge to raise funds and awareness.
But with a newborn baby, Lee didn’t have time to run the length of New Zealand or cycle to the moon, he knew he would have to do something completely off the wall to get attention for his chosen cause.
“I was driving tractors up and down the rows bored out of my mind and I was looking up the valley and I thought the Molesworth would be a really neat place to ride a bike through,” Lee says.
“I’ve always wanted to do it, but I knew that it wasn’t long enough or out there enough just by riding the bike.”
In a flash of inspiration, a unicycle popped into Lee’s head. “I thought if I can learn to ride it 20 metres up the road, then I should be able to ride it through the Molesworth.”
After 9 months of planning and training, Lee completed the one-wheeled 182km journey through New Zealand’s largest farm.
“That was the first fundraiser and awareness thing that we did.
“It just sparks that conversation.”
While training for the Molesworth trip, Lee learnt about the five ways to wellbeing – exercise, learn, connect, give and take notice.
“Although there wasn’t anything specific that got me through my depression and social anxiety, since I’ve been doing these challenges, I’ve learnt more about myself and how to deal with my mental health than I ever did.”
Earlier this year, Lee bounced his way up Mt Fyffe, in Kaikoura, on a pogo stick.
He completed the 1600 metre ascent in just under 24 hours, earning a Guiness World Record for most uphill distance covered on a pogo stick in a 24-hour period.
“Every challenge that I now take on I have to learn something new,” he says.
And Lee has dedicated the next decade to completing “seemingly impossible” challenges.
“The message with the Mental Adventure Series, the tagline, is a decade of seemingly impossible adventures to promote positive mental wellbeing.
“To do that through physical illustrations of our mental struggles we see in life and how we cope.
“It’s drawing a parallel that when you’re depressed, even the most simple things can seem impossible.
“Getting out of that depression can seem quite impossible, seeing that light at the end of the tunnel.
Lee’s next challenge will be taking things backwards, to the basics of riding a bicycle
The idea, “if you’re going to keep moving forward, you’re going to stay balanced.”
Keep up with Lee’s Mental Adventure series on Facebook and Instagram.