Sophie’s infectious giggles and tale of taking “about five minutes” to score a goal in soccer, along with Gabriel’s long term goal for his modified bike to be a Ferrari had the audience captivated and in the mood to bid on auction items, with all profits going to Halberg.
Sky Sport commentator Scotty Stevenson was the MC for the evening, interviewing a star studded panel including three time Supreme Halberg Award winner Rob Waddell, BLACKCAP Grant Elliott and Auckland City FC defender Ivan Vicelich.
Stevenson also interviewed athletics coaching legend Arch Jelley, 94, who sent his first protégé to the 1956 Olympic Games at Melbourne and later coached John Walker to win gold at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. This year, incredibly, he coached 1500m contender Hamish Carson at Rio via Skype.
Paralympian swimmer Rebecca Dubber, who has been supported by Halberg, spoke about competing at Rio and winning the bronze medal in the Women’s 100m Backstroke S7.
Harcourts CEO Chris Kennedy said listening to Rebecca was inspirational and a reminder of the important work that Halberg does.
Mr Kennedy started off the charity evening with a $55,000 donation from the Harcourts Foundation and spirited bidding on other items quickly brought the total raised to $134,000.
Some of the most hotly bid for items included a table at the Halberg Awards and an oar signed by Olympic rowing champion Rob Waddell.
“I was so proud to see our Harcourts team and friends of Harcourts bidding so generously. I believe everyone in the room was moved after meeting Sophie Bold, Gabriel Goedhardt and Rebecca Dubber. Who wouldn’t want to help these brave young people achieve their dreams?”
Other notable guests of the evening included Olympic gold medal rower Hamish Bond, former All Black coach Sir Graham Henry, Olympic bronze medallist pole-vaulter Eliza McCartney and Olympic silver medallist Olympic slalom canoeist Luuka Jones.
This is the third annual Halberg Sport for Life Dinner, hosted by the Harcourts Foundation.
Harcourts Foundation ambassador Emma Revell says the charity became an official partner to Halberg because they believe that everyone should have the same opportunities in life.
“Everyone should be able to enjoy sport, whether young, old, disabled or able-bodied. We’ve seen the work of Halberg first hand and we think what they do is incredible.”
Sir Murray Halberg started the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation in 1963. The work of the Halberg Foundation includes a team of regional Disability Sport Advisers throughout New Zealand. These expert staff work with physically disabled young people and their families to get them involved in sports and recreation.
“We are extremely grateful for the support of the Harcourts Foundation to assist us in making a difference in the lives of the young people we work with throughout New Zealand,” says Halberg Disability Sport Foundation Chief Executive, Shelley McMeeken.