Cornerstone Sports Achievement Trust held their annual fundraising "long lunch" on Friday at the Te Awamutu Sports and Rugby clubrooms with $24,225 raised from the auction, raffle sales and donations.
Cornerstone Trust is based in Te Awamutu and supports aspiring sports people to achieve their aims and goals. They have been an entity since 2006.
The luncheon was sponsored by Davies Family Charitable Trust and was MC'd by well-known freelance sports commentator Nigel Yalden.
"I have come in the last year to very much appreciate events like this due to recent events," said Nigel.
"Sport brings people together – that's why I love sport."
Another distinguished sports commentator, Keith Quinn, was the special guest speaker.
The event was well supported by the community with 147 tickets sold as well as the Kiwanis Club of Te Awamutu serving the guests.
It was a time for locals to put the week's events of storms and flooding aside and mingle with local public figures, business and sportspeople.
The midday luncheon carried on through the afternoon with a cooked meal provided by Red Kitchen.
Cornerstone trustee Richard Gray explained that due to Covid-19 there weren't as many recipients as usual.
This year there were three recipients who go to start the journey towards their dreams - Cobain Richardson (touch rugby), Eifion Jones (touch rugby) and Mitchell Wilson (Para cycling).
Eifion represented the New Zealand under-18 touch team at the 2020 youth transtasman event, this was made possible by the trust.
"Just to represent the silver fern is the best feeling in the world," said Eifion.
Mitchell Wilson finished within the top eight in the world at the 2020 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in Canada.
He also holds several New Zealand records.
"There's not exactly a big field of blind male tandems in the country. So pretty much every time we rode, we set a new PB and record," he humbly joked.
The recipients showed their gratitude to the trust and to the community. Without the funds received, it would have been a lot harder for them to get to where they wanted to be.
Andy Transom from PGG Wrightson was the auctioneer for the 22 listed items.
The auction items were donated by many businesses and people from around the area.
Items included Fahrenheit restaurant vouchers, Ruby Rose vouchers, a Sealy bed donated by Homeward and a hamper donated by GW Accountants.
"It's always neat to have people donate things, the money we make is profit for the recipients," said Richard.
Stephen "Beaver" Donald's signed and framed 2011 Rugby World Cup jersey went for $1250 and the world champion Black Fern Women's sevens signed jersey went for $750.
Paul Davies, one of the sponsors, came away with Keith Quinn's book The A-Z of Colin Meads which was signed by the late great All Black and Keith.
Colin's brother Stan was in attendance too, a great opportunity to add his signature to the book.
As guest speaker Keith took centre stage, he addressed the audience on his comments previously made on Twitter telling blokes of today to harden up.
"I really do believe that emotion is good. I got my words wrong and paid the price," said Keith.
He said that he had spent plenty of time "living behind the couch" after that.
Between songs, stories and jokes Keith told the story of his beginnings and his vast career in New Zealand sports broadcasting.
He grew up in Benneydale near Te Kūiti.
"It's amazing, I've had such a lucky life after coming from such a small place as Benneydale," he said.
After leaving Wellington College, Keith took on a job at 2ZB in Wellington at the age of 17.
In the more than half a century since, he has a pile of milestones attending 10 Olympic Games, 10 Commonwealth Games, three Paralympic Games, 35 overseas All Blacks tours and 125 cities on the world sevens rugby circuit.
Keith was also appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 1997 for services to journalism.
When asked what the highlight of career was Keith couldn't make the choice.
"My highlights are too many to break down to one," he said.
His list of highlights included the King Country versus Hawke's Bay Ranfurly Shield match in 1967; the 1996 All Blacks victory over South Africa in Pretoria and commentating at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games when John Walker won the gold medal in the 1500m event.
"I always tried in my fumbling way to enhance the moments," said Keith.
"A young boy from Benneydale, who has never forgotten his roots."
• For more details on the trust head to their Facebook page Cornerstone Trust