Tauranga’s Andrew Dalley, right, chasing David Cummings of Eketahuna in Saturday’s lawn mower racing at Eketahuna. PHOTOS/KELVIN TEIXEIRA/AROHANUI HOSPICE

SAM TATTERSFIELD
sam.tattersfield@age.co.nz

Buckets full of dollar coins collected on Saturday suggest Eketahuna Lawn Mower Racing Club’s meet has become a valuable addition in raising money for a worthy cause.

Rachel Welford of Eketahuna.

Money raised from the event, which attracted an estimated 200 people who paid gold coin entry, will go to Arohanui Hospice.

The hospice provided palliative care for organiser Alan Gray’s wife, Megan, when she was terminally-ill with stomach cancer.

She would watch Alan and a mate riding mowers in the paddock of their Eketahuna home, where Arohanui staff provided her with care and support.

The first meet Alan held in September last year, after Megan died in April at the age of 42, had eight competitors, but the latest one had 23, featuring male and female drivers.

Arohanui Hospice’s Kelvin Teixeira said the organisation relied on fundraising.

“We really appreciate the fact that the Eketahuna Lawn Motor Racing Club put the event on.”

He said being there, “You almost forgot they were, well, lawn mowers.

“They tore around the track more like off-road go-carts.”

Trev Stewart, of New Plymouth.

After the fundraising event, there was a night run on Saturday night, where competitors put lights on, and there was no winner.

“Everyone wants to keep going and have fun. Everyone has a go,” Alan said.

The hospice was “just a special place, he said.

“Words can’t explain the work and what the people there do for you and your loved ones.”

He said the event had turned into something “a bit bigger”.

“Now it’s fun for everyone else instead.”

Alan was hoping to have 30-plus mowers for the event next year which was supported by a handful of people investing a lot of time into the running of the races.

Club president Mike Rzoska was “spending hours getting mowers ready”, Alan said.