Crop competition and auction raise $65,000

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Cash crop . . . Most of the $65,000 raised in the Taieri Winter Crop Competition and Charity Auction is given to beneficiaries in a grazing block of fodder beet in Mosgiel last week. From left: Taieri Lions member Alan Scurr and chairman Ken Spittle, Rotary Club of Taieri treasurer Robert Reid and president Ian Spencer, Taieri Community Facilities Trust fundraising chairman Bob Campbell, competition co-ordinator Drew Carruthers and Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust chief pilot Graeme Gale. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

This year’s Taieri Winter Crop Competition and Charity Auction raised $65,000 – the most raised in its five-year history.

Last month, $45,000 of the funds was given to the Taieri Community Facilities Trust for the proposed aquatic centre in Mosgiel, and $15,000 was given to the Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust for the Otago Regional Rescue Helicopter.

The remainder of the money would support three $1500 scholarships for tertiary study in primary industries at the Telford campus of Lincoln University.

Competition co-ordinator Drew Carruthers said 95 farmers had entered the FMG-sponsored competition in May and provided 128 winter feed crops to measure on farms from Henley to Middlemarch.

“The crops are just an excuse to get the farmers together,” he said.

Nearly 300 people attended a dinner and auction at the Wingatui Racecourse in late May, he said.

Mr Carruthers said the Taieri Community Facilities Trust was made a first-time recipient in a bid to see the “worthy cause across the line” and get the centre built.

Taieri Community Facilities Trust fundraising chairman Bob Campbell, of Mosgiel, said the trust was “thrilled with the amount raised and given”.

“It was a tremendous event and people were extremely generous.”

Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust chief pilot Graeme Gale said the fundraiser was “fantastic”.

Fundraising from the community allowed the trust to have a “high level of life support” in helicopters.

“It’s critical to the trust.”

The competition was run by the Taieri Lions and the Rotary Club of Taieri.