Shauni James is a Rotorua Daily Post reporter

Waddell set for charity luncheon

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CHARITY: Don Gollan (left) is the event chairman of the Rotorua Charity Luncheon, with  guest speaker Rob Waddell. PHOTO/STEPHEN PARKER
CHARITY: Don Gollan (left) is the event chairman of the Rotorua Charity Luncheon, with guest speaker Rob Waddell. PHOTO/STEPHEN PARKER

Olympic gold medallist rower Rob Waddell will be the guest speaker at this year's Rotorua Charity Luncheon.

The event, hosted by Rotorua's Rotary clubs, will be held on November 11 at the Energy Events Centre, and will include live and silent auctions and a lunch.

Waddell won gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games in the single sculls and was also a grinder for Team New Zealand in its 2013 America's Cup challenge.

Event chairman Don Gollan said organisers approached Waddell to be the guest speaker as it was an Olympic year and he was a particularly well-known New Zealand sportsman.

They had a "fantastic group of supporters" who had helped out with auction items, and there were items coming from all over the place, he said.

"It's a combined club event, with all Rotorua Rotaries all working together to make this project a success."

He said Waddell, who was the deputy chairman of Home of Cycling and also works with Cycling New Zealand, was particularly fond of Rotorua with its mountain biking.

Waddell told the Rotorua Daily Post the lunch was for a "wonderful cause" and he was pleased to be able to help.

"I encourage people to come along and enjoy being a part of it. Rotorua's got a great community feel to it and events like this really cement that feeling."

Through his work in national sport, he had got to know a lot of people in Rotorua who had been very good to cycling in New Zealand.

He said he was currently helping to "piece together" the establishment of a national mountain biking centre of excellence in Rotorua.

Waddell is chef de mission for the New Zealand Olympic team heading to Rio, and the fundraiser was not long after he returned, so there would be plenty to talk about.

He said he had a long and interesting sporting career, so there would be no shortage of content.

Charity luncheon trustee Mike Bannister said last year's inaugural event raised $90,000 for numerous Rotorua charities and attracted 450 guests.

This year they were hoping to host 600 guests and to raise $130,000, he said.

Mr Bannister said each Rotary club had been asked to nominate charities, and from these three would be chosen as the major beneficiaries and numerous as pool beneficiaries.

Tickets will be available soon at Ticketmaster.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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