Raising funds for The Sunflower Fund and Donkey Sanctuaries in SA
By Tony Lourens
It was very fortunate that The Climb4Hope event actually went ahead this year, what with all the turmoil the world has been going through in the last year. But I was still a little concerned whether we would get a decent field of participants because there was/is still a bit of uncertainty out there. So it was with great relief and joy, that we actually got a greater turnout than last year.
Again the event was hosted at De Bos, and started off with a quick briefing and the handing out of Goodie Bags, etc, before everyone scattered to the hills – about 22 hikers and some 18 climbers. And fortunately it was not a scorcher of a day.
The Climb4Hope event is an annual event held in Montagu. The format is quite simple. Hikers hike as far as possible and climbers climb as many routes as they can manage. And participants get sponsored per route climbed, and/or per kilometre hiked. They can also get money pledge to the cause.
The one beneficiary being The Sunflower Fund, which is an organisation that recruits donors to give blood for the collection of stem cells, which are used to treat all sorts of blood disorders. The other is Eseltjierus and the Karoo Donkey Sanctuaries, both of which rescue and rehabilitate abused donkeys, and give them a beautiful and peaceful life. They are also involved with educating donkey owners on the correct treatment of donkeys and supplying medical assistance to donkeys in need. Two extremely noble causes.
So, various bunches of hikers made their way to climb Bloupunt Peak and other groups went for Cogman’s Kloof Trail, adding an interesting twist at the end with the inclusion of a journey up and down the beautiful Keur Kloof.
One lady, Andrea van Lille, hiked Bloupunt, then as if that wasn’t enough, went on to complete the Cogmans Trail as well, making her the winner in terms of distance hiked – just under 30 km! And another two Montagu locals, Toni van Houweninge and Brenda Marx, climbedthe 7-pitch Another Day in Paradise, then hiked the Aasvoëlkranz trail, then got a puncture while driving back to town, changed the wheel, went to work for a few hours, then took a newby climber to Legoland to climb a few routes, and Brenda and Toni climbed Eddy of Bovidence (Brenda did it twice!), which also gave them the hardest route of the day at grade 24. Quite a long mixed day!!
Eventually the closing time of 5 pm came along and a lot of relieved climbers and hikers made their way back to de Bos, to sign in and declare themselves safe and home and hand in their score sheets, etc. And after an hour or two of relaxation everybody congregated again at de Bos for the ‘after party’.
Tracy from de Bos brought her two beautiful and happy donkeys to the party once again, where we all could tickle and cuddle them and feed them carrots. Big braai fires were lit and the beers and red wine flowed, while we all relaxed and soaked up the ambience.
Tony, the event organiser, gave a short speech, then Traci from The Sunflower Fund told us a bit about the incredible work they do. This year we were also privileged to have Annemarie and Peter from Eseltjierus Donkey Sanctuary to talk about the admirable work they do with donkeys. Monica, from CORE Merino, our main sponsor, then told us about their incredible products, before a fun prize giving, which saw about 40% of the people walk away with some amazing prizes donated by our generous sponsors – CORE Merino, Petzl, Black Diamond, Adventure Inc, Montagu Country Hotel, Montagu Snacks and Cape Dry.
Festivities carried on into the night, with people gathering around the fires braaing their meat, sharing stories and even doing a bit of shopping at the CORE Merino Stall.
But, of course Climb4Hope is all about raising funds, and we were all amazed that we more than doubled last year’s takings, bringing in a little short of R70 000. A fantastic effort by all, some people bringing in close to R10 000 single handed – quite a remarkable achievement.
Thank you to everybody who took from their time to come support this event and raise these funds. To all the many people who pledged money to the causes, and of course a huge thank you to our main sponsor CORE Merino, as well as all our other sponsors – Black Diamond, Petzl, Adventure Inc, Montagu Country Hotel, Montagu Snacks, Cape Dry. And a big big thank you to Tracy and Andy of De Bos for hosting the event in brilliant style, and of course to the Montagu tourism office – thanks for your sponsorship and all the exposure you gave the event, and for getting us free entry to Badkloof for the hikers – much appreciated.
Hope to see all of you next year and many others as well. Our goal for next year will be R100 000.
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For more info
Karoo Donkey Sanctuary: www.karoodonkeysanctuary.org.za