Four local men are embarking on a 24-hour charity fundraising shearathon today.
Spread over 36 hours, it’s equivalent to running six marathons.
Dan Billing, who is into his second year organising the Shear4U event, will be shearing alongside Mark Buik, Will Billing, and Nick Balfour at the Spring Valley Enterprises Woolshed this weekend.
“One day [shearing] is equivalent to doing two marathons, so we’re going to be doing six marathons in a row,” he said.
The shearers will break for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus a few smokos in between, with a masseuse on hand.
A typical shearer does four two-hour runs over eight hours, but the weekend’s goal is to shear 7500 sheep over 12 runs – 1500 more than last year’s Shear4U event.
The funds raised will be split between three charities: Rural Support Trust [Wairarapa], Farmstrong, and Gumboot Friday.
Billing said the charities have been instrumental in helping the region and rural community during tough times, such as the post-cyclone recovery, and the foursome want to give back.
An ANZ senior manager, Billing said he sees first-hand when farmers and other community members are under pressure.
“Times like this make it really, really difficult.
“Rural Support Trust [Wairarapa] were out there helping the farms, making sure people felt like there was some support there around them,” Billing said, while Farmstrong and Gumboot Friday provided mental health awareness and assistance.
“People haven’t had the tendency to actually reach out and ask for help, particularly around the mental health side of things. That’s what
we’re trying to advocate here.”
The Shear4U team have also received items from a number of organisations that have a total value of between $40,000 and $50,000 and will be auctioned off as part of the fundraiser.
The donations range from gin and wine to hunting and fishing goods, carpet, and stud rams.
While “anything is better than nothing”, Billings is optimistic about matching the $128,000 that was raised last year and split between the Breast Cancer Foundation, Rural Support Trust, and men’s mental health charity #Hear4U.
Donations can be made via Shear4U’s Givealittle page at givealittle.co.nz/cause/shear4u-wairarapa-2024