Murray Heath got me at a weak moment recently writes The Southland Times' Nathan Burdon.
The Westpac manager was recruiting for riders to bike from Frankton to Invercargill to help raise funds for the Lakes District Air Rescue Trust (LDART) our local recipient of the nationwide Westpac Chopper Appeal.
LDART provides the invaluable training and equipment to enable local chopper rescue crews to complete about 200 missions a year including many life saving flights.
Heathie is a good bloke and he's hard to say no to. After getting a yes from me he then announced he was hopping on a plane to spend a couple of weeks on tour with the Highlanders in South Africa.
It's been a long-held dream for the former Southland rugby team manager, who these days helps organise the Sharks basketball team, to travel to the republic with the team and his good mate Leicester Rutledge who was able to find him a job on tour.
The rescue chopper has been at the front of my mind lately because I know a couple who had to use it recently.
Without this vital emergency service what turned out to be a positive result probably wouldn't have been.
So I'll be lining up along with about 15 other people to make the 180km trek from Frankton to home to try and raise a bit of awareness and some cash for this valuable resource.
Most of us will not be cyclists, which is a relief for me. There will be a few Westpac managers – although it appears Heathie will be offering his support from a team vehicle – including Andrew Moreton and former Southland wing Phil Taylor who last year biked from Balclutha to Invercargill to raise cash for the cause.
We'll be relying heavily on the likes of formidable rider and race director Allan Dunn and cycling supremo Erin Criglington, if she can get the day off work.
They will be tasked with towing us around the lake and up over the Jollies and Josephvilles, then across the flat(ish) lands of Central Southland to a welcome cold one in Invercargill.
Also among the group will be Invercargill's leading radio broadcaster, James McRobie, and Cycling Southland chief executive Nick Jeffrey.
While McRobie and I have no credibility when it comes to this thing, Jeffrey is, by association, virtually a professional cyclist and there will be a lot resting on his shoulders.
If you are trying to make your way around Lake Wakatipu on May 25 and you get held up behind a bunch of struggling cyclists, take it easy on us, we're doing it for a good reason.
And if you can, please make a donation to this very worthy donation.
You can donate at www.fundraiseonline.co.nz/WestpacSouthlandChopperAppeal/
Article courtesy of The Southland Times