One casualty of Covid-19 in CHB was the Winter Olympics, a grassroots showjumping event held annually at Mt Herbert Farm in Waipukurau.
The Winter Olympics has never been an ordinary event. It was started by well-known Waipukurau showjumper Claire Wilson to raise funds for local causes as well as give horse and pony riders of all levels a fun and encouraging experience in the world of showjumping.
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Over the past decade many organisations have benefited from this event including Flemington School, Hawke's Bay Rescue Helicopter Trust and the Hawke's Bay Cancer Society.
This month's event was to be the 11th Winter Olympics. The beneficiaries were to be the Dannevirke Hunt and the Hawke's Bay Rural Support Trust.
Claire and her husband Simon of Mt Herbert work with a group of equally committed volunteers to make this event one to remember. They pull together ribbons and prizes for the competitors who often would not have the opportunity to get the recognition and encouragement this event provides.
"It was a huge disappointment to have to cancel the event when Covid-19 level 4 lockdown was announced," Claire says.
The sponsors, however, were unstoppable. They weren't going to let it end there.
In a testament to the loyalty and commitment of the event's sponsors the donations kept coming in and Claire quickly switched from event organiser to auctioneer, running online auctions for the services and products her supporters had provided.
These ranged from an hour of training from a top equestrian competitor to a load of firewood, horse feed, meat packs and more.
When the dust settled, Claire and the Winter Olympics team had raised $16,000, to be split between the Hawke's Bay Rural Support Trust and the Dannevirke Hunt.
"It's always a huge team effort, but this year, without the event even being able to run, the team has still wanted to contribute. The generosity that I've seen this year is due to 10 years of momentum and lots of passionate people supporting the day," Claire says.
The generosity of the sponsors and supporters of the 2020 Winter Olympics, particularly in the current times with the impact of the drought, M. bovis and TB on the farming community is something the Rural Support Trust is humbled by, says local RST co-ordinator Bel Gunson.
"With the Covid-19 lockdown on top of all that, the effort that everyone has gone to to ensure a successful fundraiser is truly remarkable."
The RST was established during the 1980s to help rural people facing challenging times. The high level of confidentiality around the trust's interactions with farmers means people can seek, and be provided, assistance in the knowledge that it is a safe environment.
"The service is free to farmers in need.
"Donations like this give us the opportunity to continue to engage with different sources of assistance, be it helping out with financial, feed or personal welfare issues or simply to maintain the operation of our confidential 0800 787 254 number.
"We are also able to channel funding like this back into the community it came from.
"To all the people involved in the 2020 Winter Olympics — organisers, generous sponsors and to those of you who supported the fundraiser in your own way — a huge thank you from the Hawke's Bay Rural Support Trust."
The Rural Support Trust can be contacted on 0800 784 254.
2020 Winter Olympics Gold Sponsors:
BWR Accountants, Anne Magee, Di Murphy, Gaylene Marsden, New Zealand Performance Horses - Brigit Kirk, Central Advisory Services, Galaxy Equine, Saltaire Sporthorses - Kathryn Malley, Vicki Wilson, Kelso, Equissage NZ, Flemington Gardening Group, Canter for Cancer, Sue Dykes, McMillan Equine Feeds
2020 Winter Olympics Silver Sponsors:
John Jenkins, Simon McDonald Livestock, Vet Services Waipukurau, Hutchinson Earthworks, HRC Carpentry, H&T Agronomics - Mat Doward, Bayleys - Andy Hunter, Goldstream Farm - Rebecca Rapley, Jess Land Equestrian, Sue and Ron Gray, Maurice Beatson and Sally Clark, CHB Covers, John Reisima, J and D Strawbridge, First Light Foods, Jane Hunter, C and H Beagles
2020 Winter Olympics Bronze Sponsors:
Tony Solly, Jan Wilson, Simon Hansen Livestock, Ward Family, Shelley Bridgeman, Jo Bonner, Banks Family, John McLennan, Jerry Brockhouse, Lynda Fouhy, Susan Fraser, Jenni Calver, BNZ - Olivia Lee, Gabrielle Mannix, Charlotte's Oven, Seahorse Supplements, equosano, Jody Hartstone, Dunstan Horsefeeds, Fiber Fresh, Equi Massage Roller, Susan Fraser, Brenna Wynn, Forbes and Co Saddlery.
• 2021 Winter Olympic Sponsorship has already been received from Tremains Real Estate, CR Grace Ltd and Goldstream Farm