Allison is a digital reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times

Waipuna Hospice fundraiser set to get cold knees knocking

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Waipuna Hospice chief executive Richard Thurlow, Health Minister Jonathan Coleman, National MP Todd Muller and Waipuna Hospice Board Chairman Mark Tingey.
Waipuna Hospice chief executive Richard Thurlow, Health Minister Jonathan Coleman, National MP Todd Muller and Waipuna Hospice Board Chairman Mark Tingey.

On the shortest day of the year, in the dead of winter, Tauranga has been invited to don a pair of shorts - all for a good cause.

Waipuna Hospice has called on businesses and individuals in the Bay to wear their brightest, boldest, baggiest or briefest shorts to raise money for the services they provide.

Wearing shorts on the shortest day because life is short was the idea behind the campaign, said Waipuna Hospice chief executive Richard Thurlow.

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Shorts for hospice campaigns had been run elsewhere earlier this year but, when Mr Thurlow heard about it, he thought it would be better in winter.

"If you're going to wear shorts, it can't be summer. Everyone's already in shorts, that's too easy."

He said there ought to be a little hardship to acknowledge the challenges hospice patients and their families face every day.

Shorts4Waipuna on June 21 would be one of the biggest fundraising efforts of the hospice, which provided 24-hour service, seven days a week.

Sixty per cent of its operating costs were funded by the Government, but it had to raise $2.4 million this year ending in June. Mr Thurlow said they would have to raise even more next year.

"We're trying to have a bit of fun, raise awareness for Waipuna and to help out fundraising needs. If we can make it easier and fun for people to help, then we try our best to," Mr Thurlow said.

Businesses and organisations that got on board could make a $200 tax-deductible donation and encourage their staff to wear shorts for the day. Individuals could register for $5, "the price of a coffee".

The hospice was hoping people would take photos of their staff and post them to a Facebook page set up for the initiative.

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"We're really looking forward to sharing them with our patients so they can see how much their journeys are being supported. It is a very tough part of their life, but to know you've got everyone rooting for you must give a bit of a lift.

"I can't see a downside to it other than cold knees," Mr Thurlow said.

Bay of Plenty National party MP Todd Muller, a Te Puna boy himself, was behind the campaign and would be donning his own pair of light-blue shorts on the day. "Luckily I won't be in Parliament that day."

Mr Muller said he thought it was a fantastic idea to get behind, as the hospice was a very special place.

"They have a tag line, 'life is special' and it feels like that when you're out there. It's a place that celebrates life.

"I'll definitely be blinding the people of Tauranga with my white legs on the day."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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