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Sporting great for Free Ambulance fundraiser

A rare opportunity to hear from one of New Zealand Rugby’s greats, Sir Wayne Smith, is sure to attract plenty of interest from sports fans across Wairarapa.

The 17-test All Black first-five and World Cup-winning coach will visit Masterton on Monday, December 18, for a fundraiser for Wellington Free Ambulance [WFA] in what will be only his second public event since the launch of his biography Smithy: Endless Winters and the Spring of 22 earlier this year.

Organiser Bob Francis said getting Smith to attend the event is really pleasing, given that he has not travelled widely in promoting his book.

“He did his major book launch at his old club in Christchurch, but he’s done no other because he decided he didn’t want to tour the country promoting the book, but he’s agreed to come here, so it’s pretty special,” said Francis, who organised the visit through Lady Pam Lochore.

“I just thought he had a really close friendship with Sir Brian Lochore, so I talked to Lady Pam, and she made the contact, and he was delighted to come.”

Francis believes there are few better when it comes to achievement at the highest level, and the book would be an outstanding read.

“He played for Canterbury in the great shield era, and he went on to become an outstanding All Black and then he had this amazing coaching career which finished with him coaching the women to win the World Cup final,” he said.

“There’s no question his skills are always going to be sought after in the future. He’s a pretty special guy, very humble, and he’s had an amazing career.”

As well as a question and answer session with Smith, Francis said there will be a few auction items, including what will likely become a rare piece of memorabilia, a 2023 Rugby World Cup final programme, signed by All Black coach Ian Foster.

Francis said the ‘Evening with Smithy’ from 5pm to 7pm at Copthorne Solway Park is probably the final community event in the fundraising drive to build a new Wairarapa station for WFA.

    Hedleys will have the book at the function for purchase.

    Tickets can be bought online at Eventfinda for $65 [plus booking fee].

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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