Kelly Makiha is the Rotorua Daily Post's head of news

Police charity auction raises $80,000

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All Black legend Michael Jones' mother always told him to aim for the moon. If he didn't land there, at least he'd still be up with the stars.

He repeated those same words to Rotorua police Detective Steve Allpress, who is battling terminal brain cancer, at a charity event on Friday night held in his honour.

The sellout event attracted 430 people and was the inaugural fundraiser for the Rotorua Police Welfare Fund, a new fund that aims to help police staff and their families.

Friday's Charity Night and Auction raised more than $80,000, although the final tally is yet to be confirmed, and 80 per cent of the funds are going to Mr Allpress and his family with the remainder kick-starting the fund.

Jones, who was the guest speaker, said his mother's words were always in his head throughout his drive to become an All Black and miracle return to the game after a knee injury.

He told the crowd of the day an Argentinian player took him out in a dodgy tackle.
"I'll never forget his ugly face," he said.

The newspaper headlines days after said things like "Thank you for the memories Jones". But despite the prognosis, he was determined to aim for the moon again.

After 16 months of rehabilitation he was back in the game and eventually re-selected for an All Blacks tour of France.

Jones said people thought he had courage to come back.

"But the real courage is sitting over here at that table," Jones said pointing to Mr Allpress.
"Steve, if you have courage, someday you'll land on the moon again. There has to be hope. This is a celebration of life, love and hope. We are here to support and encourage you to keep holding on."

Mr Allpress, who is undergoing treatment for two brain tumours, was able to attend most of the event on Friday, supported by his long-time partner and now wife of one month, Kylie Allpress.

Friday's auction saw a host of donated items auctioned. The top selling item was a guitar signed by the Rolling Stones.

Two bidders went head-to-head with Rotorua's Beth Millard winning for $10,000.
She told the Rotorua Daily Post shortly after the auction she would give the item to her husband for his 60th birthday on February 11 next year.

In a bizarre coincidence, the man bidding against her was hoping to win the guitar for his 60th birthday - also on February 11 next year.

The night oozed generosity. A signed Richie McCaw jersey that sold at the start of the night for $3700 was donated back to the cause and was re-auctioned for $3000.

Event organiser Senior Sergeant Phil Wilkinson said Jones brought with him two special jerseys for Mr Allpress. He said Jones had mentioned to All Black Jerome Kaino on Friday morning he was coming to Rotorua.

"Jerome found a jersey to sign as the All Blacks were leaving their hotel to go to their captain's run at Eden Park. The entire All Blacks team signed it on the bus while they travelled to Eden Park on Friday then it was given to Michael when they got off the bus and he drove straight to Rotorua. The ink was almost still wet."

Mr Wilkinson said it was a special jersey given their record-breaking win on Saturday night. It sold for $5000.

The other jersey was signed by Australian fullback Israel Folau which sold for $2100.
A grateful Mr Allpress gave both jerseys back and insisted they be auctioned, with all proceeds remaining in the welfare fund.

Mr Allpress' teenage daughter, Tegan Allpress, gave an emotional speech supported by her three brothers on stage.

She passed on words from her father of thanks.

Through tears, she told the captive audience that she could see the fight in her father's eyes every day and he had already made her so proud.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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