'Last little push' to fund school hall

By Victoria White

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DONATION: Lachie Harkness (left), Connor Moody, Leo Parsons, Josiah Jobbins, Belle Anderson and Jayden Moody play on "Annabel", which was donated to fundraise for Eskdale School. PHOTO/DUNCAN BROWN
DONATION: Lachie Harkness (left), Connor Moody, Leo Parsons, Josiah Jobbins, Belle Anderson and Jayden Moody play on "Annabel", which was donated to fundraise for Eskdale School. PHOTO/DUNCAN BROWN

Community support, more than $20,000, and a red tractor named Annabel are part of a final fundraising effort for Hawke's Bay's oldest school.

Eskdale School has been fundraising for a hall extension to cope with their growing roll for several years.

Now, parent and former board member Louise Parsons is championing a "last little push" to raise the final $50,000.

People had been contributing to the fund for years but the longer it took the more expensive the extension became, she said.

"I'm hoping the last little push gets us over the line."

And thanks to residents' generosity, the line is getting closer.

While Ms Parsons said she had done a lot of fundraising, this had been a unique experience.

"It's been phenomenal, I can't believe how much they care about the school."

She began by writing letters to 50 of the school's "foundation families" - those who have been involved with the school for up to five generations. Between fewer than 25 families, $22,000 had already been raised.

"It's a tight little community," Ms Parsons said.

"I've never fundraised like this before, where people actually want to be on the list. People have been waiting for me to call them and ask for contributions."

After being written to, Eskdale resident Chris Baty donated a red Massey Ferguson 35 tractor to the cause.

"It was surplus to our requirements," he said. "The school's been good to us, we had three kids who went through [Eskdale School].

"It's not the most beautiful tractor in the world, we just thought it would be a bit of fun."

The tractor, nicknamed Annabel, might be showing her age now but residents have offered to sandblast and repaint her, then she'll get a new exhaust and make a visit to the panelbeaters before going to tender or auction in a few weeks.

"She's getting an extreme makeover: tractor edition," Ms Parsons said.

She hoped they would begin progressing on the build around July.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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