The rain held off and a good crowd gathered along Peter Snell Rd for last Saturday morning's Christmas parade in Ruakākā, organised by Marsden Lions.
Lions' member Gladys Rowsell says it was a very successful parade and the $500 "funny money" sponsored by Ruakākā Engineering was a hit. The $2 and $5 "notes" were handed out during the parade for people to spend at participating shops at the Ruakākā town centre.
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First place and the $1000 prize went to One Tree Point Primary School's Christmas-themed float, complete with principal Shirley Winters dressed as a Christmas gift.
Second place and $600 was awarded to Pulse Dance Studio's colourful entry, and third place of $400 to Marsden Playcentre's lively float.
Ruakākā Surf Life Saving Club's entry was highly commended, winning them $250.
After the parade, Marsden Lions organised family entertainment at the town centre with rapid raffles, face painting, balloons, clowns, and colouring.
Thanks for your help, Bream Bay
When Hollie McIntyre of Ruakākā was diagnosed with breast cancer a few months ago, she was prepared to battle to prolong her life. What she didn't realise is how much support she would have from her community as she fought.
In her time working at Orrs Pharmacy Ruakākā she helped many people and now they, along with the rest of the community, want to give back. Fundraisers, auctions and donations have brought in more than $20,000 in the past few weeks.
As she faces up to her 10th weekly chemotherapy session tomorrow, struggling with insomnia and nausea, Hollie wants to let everyone who has helped her in any way know how much it means to her.
"I want to say thank you somehow, but I have no idea how to say it," she said. "I'm so thankful for what they have done for me."
She's particularly grateful to friend Angela Shaw, the driving force behind many of her fundraisers. Hollie began writing thank-you cards for everyone she could think of, but quickly realised the task was too huge.
It's not just the generous donations of money she's grateful for. A beautiful painting given by a local artist hangs in the house she shares with partner Andy Welsh.
She has received cafe vouchers and invites to go glamping, which she hopes to feel well enough to do this summer. Food cooked by workmates fills the freezer, neighbours drop off fresh fish and even the real estate agent brings fresh vegetables.
"And every time I go to the pharmacy, someone has left a card, or a really sweet note. I've kept them all."
Sometimes, the help isn't very glamorous. Last Sunday she felt sick and shaky but wanted to support her cousin selling candles for the first time at the marina Christmas market – her cousin held a fundraiser for her a few weeks ago.
"After 15 minutes the smells and the heat were too much," she said. "I knew I was going to be sick, so I had to leave."
An ambulance officer, hearing how unwell she felt, brought her a sick bag.
"I just thought, oh my god, our community is so nice. Little gestures like that mean a lot."
Hollie tries to keep life as normal as possible, having friends around and just taking herself off to bed when she needs to: "They know we're not a big party house."
She misses work terribly and tries to pop into the pharmacy whenever she can, to feel included.
"I've never not worked in my entire adult life – it's been a really big challenge. I thought I'd read lots of books, but I get really foggy with the drugs and my memory isn't good."
While Hollie waits for the latest checks to see if her current regime is working, she's also waiting for genetic test results from the US to see if there's a medication that will give her a better fighting chance.
Meanwhile, the fundraisers carry on – the Porthouse continues holding raffles for her, and the Ruakākā Tavern has a fundraiser planned for January 4.
"People have given in any way they can," Hollie said. "I see all these people and know they have done things for me and I would love to do something for them. It's hard for me not being able to."
One way she hopes to give back is by sharing her experiences with breast cancer to raise awareness, particularly in young women.
Desperately seeking Davidsons
Clan Davidson will lead the parades into the Highland Games on January 1, and clan chief Grant Guthrie Davidson is urgently looking for clan supporters to march for the clan.
Organiser Jill Mutch says most Davidson clan members live further south and cannot attend the games this year.
The most common names associated with the clan are Davey, Davie, Davis, Davison, Dawson, Day, Dea, Dean, Dow, Dye, Kay, Keay, Key, MacDavid and Mackay – so if you have those names in your family history, you are part of Clan Davidson and can help lead the parades.
The street parade is at 9.30am leaving from the monument in Waipū's main street, and the second is in the park at 1pm, led by the massed pipers.
Mutch says tartan isn't necessary if you have none. Davidson tartan colours are blue and green with a red stripe. Other tartans are also welcome.
Lions walk and run
This Saturday is the Waipū Lions 5km and 10km beach walk and run, a fundraiser for the Child Mobility Foundation. Head down to Waipū Cove Surf Club, registration is from 7.30am and the event starts at 8.30am. Entries cost $10 per adult, $5 per child or $20 for a family.
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