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Participants at the Gumboot Friday relay in Dannevirke. Photo / Francis Hape
What started as one woman’s idea transpired into a day of fun and fitness for people raising funds for Gumboot Friday at the Upper Dannevirke Domain.
Gumboot Friday is an initiative by mental health charity I Am Hope that provides under-25s with free counselling services.
A relay raised a total of $8527 through the team registration fees, donations from local businesses, remembrance hours, raffles and gold coin donations.
Co-organiser of the event Vicki Priday said she had a team of helpers who made the “epic” day a success, with walkers relaying from 8am until 4.58pm, and even a rain shower at the end of the day didn’t put people off.
Priday came up with the idea to relay for 538 minutes to represent the number of people who died by suspected suicide in the 2021 and 2022 financial year, and was originally going to do it all herself before her husband suggested she get others involved.
She co-organised the event with her friend Meghan Moore, and the event saw over 160 registrations and sponsorship from local businesses.
Priday’s older brother Jonathan died when she was 5 years old and had been a huge motivator behind her efforts in fundraising for suicide prevention.
She said it was important for her that it was not a race, and it was great to see people of all ages and mobility levels out on the track.
One stand-out participant was 12-year-old Koby Smyth, who completed 128 laps in remembrance of his great-grandmother Hazel Smyth.
She said there are no immediate plans for another relay, but her husband has suggested they hold a concert next year.
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Michaela Gower joined Hawke’s Bay Today in 2023 and is based out of the Hastings newsroom. She covers Dannevirke and Hawke’s Bay news and has a love for sharing stories about farming and rural communities.
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Each year search and rescue teams have to undergo two exercises of at least two days each.