Summer event team aim to offer even more

By Laurel Stowell

It was a wonderful summer for most events in the Whanganui Summer Programme and people had a great time, Wendy Pettigrew says.

She's one of three trustees in the Whanganui Summer Programme Trust, which co-ordinated the 34 events run by groups as diverse as Whanganui Regional Museum and the Wanganui Tramping Club.

About 1500 people took advantage of the bus tours, walks and evening talks - a similar number to previous years.

Some came from as far afield as Tauranga and Hamilton and stayed in Wanganui. Others travelled from Palmerston North and Rangitikei.

This year a lot of trips were booked out.

Especially popular were those to Castlepoint, Whangamomona, the Kaimanawa horses, Paloma Gardens and heritage houses in the Rangitikei.

Some of those on the Rangitikei trip got to eat their lunch in the grand dining room at Otairi.

Groups toured Pacific Helmets as part of the new Made in Wanganui trip, and a small group mountainbiked the Mangapurua stretch of the Mountains to Sea Cycleway.

Feedback was generally enthusiastic, and the weather was generally hot.

"We had to make sure we had plenty of time for ice-cream stops," Miss Pettigrew said.

The trust's challenge for next year is to keep coming up with new events, so that even regular attendees find something to pique their interest.

It is a voluntary organisation, and has remained financially viable by charging participants to cover costs.

This year bookings were taken at Wanganui's information centre in Taupo Quay. That worked well, especially as it allowed people to use credit cards to pay in advance and from a distance.

The biggest problem with the programme was last-minute cancellations.

Many trips had waiting lists, and those people could join in if they had prior notice.

The Whanganui Summer Programme Trust is a registered charity. Miss Pettigrew said people could become its friends by making a tax deductable donation.

The trust's address is PO Box 402, Wanganui.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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