By PHILIP CHANDLER
Queenstown proved a fitting venue for national charity Cure Kids’ 50th anniversary function recently.
It also marked the 21st anniversary of the local 50K of Coronet endurance ski race which, by using the former Child Health Research Foundation as its charity, turbocharged it.
Among the invited 116 guests were many of those intimately involved, including 50K organisers Wayne Cafe, Fraser Skinner and Graham Smolenski, dynamic former charity CEO Kaye Parker and fundraising and business director Josie Spillane, farmer John Perriam, who owned woolly merino fundraising mascot Shrek, and local ambassador Sophie Newbold, who has a rare genetic disorder.
The guest speaker was Otago paediatrics/genetics prof Stephen Robertson, whose chair the 50K race originally funded.
An auction called by local Bayleys agent Chris Campbell — whose national company is a new Cure Kids sponsor — raised, appropriately, more than $50k.
One of the 20 items auctioned was $2000 worth of Jockey underwear product — which MC Will Hall, the charity’s South Island philanthropy specialist, helpfully held a framed photo of himself modelling for an advertising campaign.
A former actor in TV soap Shortland Street, Hall says holding the function in Queenstown, at Gibbston Valley Winery, was ‘‘a blessing because, for the past 21 years, Queenstown really has been the driving force for the charity’’.