Big hearts bashing out vital funds

TONI King and Steve Wakerley have caught a travel bug of a different kind.

Each year the pair are among Rockhampton's noble bashers who travel hundreds of kilometres around Australia from town to town to raise money and help sick, disadvantaged and disabled children.

It's a journey the pair love.

Ms King, 53, has been a part of Variety Queensland the children's charity for nine years while Mr Wakerley, 34, has volunteered for five years.

Ms King said she joined the organisation after spotting the colourful cars driving through Rockhampton.

"I made some inquiries, found out the cause and signed up immediately,'' she said.

Mr Wakerley said he too joined up after speaking to some bashers at Rainbow Beach on the Sunshine Coast.

"I was inspired by the fun and fundraising,'' he said.

"Being a basher of five years, the feeling is overwhelming when you see the expressions of the young children's faces when you see the difference you have made ? you get a lump in your throat.''

He said every bash he had participated in had moved him to tears, working with special children.

The Rockhampton group of Variety Queensland pushed their fundraising efforts to new records this year with $1.4 million raised State-wide and $6.5 million raised throughout Australia.

Ms King said the children's charity would not survive if it was not for the generosity of local businesses and organisations.

"Lacey's TJM 4x4 Megastore is one example who has donated a winch worth $2600 to help us with our annual variety bash,'' she said.

Mr Wakerley said every little donation helped make a special kid's life a little more special.

Lacey's owner Anthony Lacey said the donation was all about helping the special children.

"It's all for a good cause,'' he said.

Anyone wishing to donate to Variety Queensland, the children's charity, can contact Steve Wakerley on 4932?1500.



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