CAR 812: David Blissett’s 1966 VC Valiant station wagon that was purchased from a friend especially for the event.WITH 14 charity bashes under his belt, Marulan’s David Blissett is certainly no stranger to driving through the outback for a good cause.
This year will be his fifth year competing in one of Australia’s most exciting and successful charity motoring events, the NSW Variety Bash.
Joined by team mates Gary Shepherd, Gary’s wife Sharon, and friend Mel Hughes, the crew will travel 4202km on a nine day road trip adventure along with 37 other like-minded adventurers in order to raise money for Variety, the children’s charity.
This year’s Bash is set to make its departure from Balmain on Sunday, August 19.
The Variety Bash is not merely a race, but rather a drive through the outback with other fund raisers driving miles for the smiles, appreciating areas of Australia they may not have otherwise experienced while simultaneously raising money to support kids in need.
“We all do the Bash for various reasons, but primarily we do it because we recognise the invaluable work that Variety does with the money the Bash raises,” Mr Blissett said.
“We also enjoy the reaction of the kids at the various schools that we go to and the positive vibe that it sends through the communities that we visit along the Bash route.”
In keeping with the Bash rules of driving pre-1974 vehicles, the team will be travelling as Car 812 in a 1966 VC Valiant station wagon that was purchased from a friend especially for the event.
“Since owning the vehicle I have rebuilt and replaced the majority of the car’s parts, sometimes twice,” Mr Blissett said.
“It’s virtually a brand new 46-year-old car.
“I hate to think what I have spent on it over the years but as I don’t smoke, drink or gamble I see it as my ‘vice’. I tell my wife that Val (our nickname for the car) is my mistress, and she just laughs.”
The team will be among more than 100 other elaborately decorated vehicles in the quirky convoy that is set to take off on August 19 and journey across the country to Bamaga, a town near the northern tip of Cape York.
Along the way, the colourful cavalcade will detour through some of NSW’s most remote areas, including Merriwa and Mungindi, as well as some of Queensland’s most iconic outback towns such as Archer River and Charters Towers so that the participants can see the sights, have fun, and help out the local community, all in the name of raising funds for Variety.
“The way in which the event helps these small towns was particularly evident in the worst years of the drought when the Bash gave these struggling communities not only an economic boost but a boost to the morale of the people living there,” Mr Blissett said.
“We obviously enjoy the camaraderie of the people on the Bash and seeing the amazing country we get to travel through.”
A donation of $8500 to Variety, the children’s charity is required to take part in the Variety Bash, with any amount raised above able to be used for the purpose of bribing and corrupting officials during the event.
Participants of the Bash are encouraged to begin fundraising in advance of the event and to get their family, friends and work colleagues involved.
While there are no prizes for ‘winning’ as such, trophies are instead rewarded for the highest fundraisers.
To date, Mr Blissett and his team have raised an impressive $17,000 through raffles and charity auctions as well as help from friends, the community, and Elders Agricultural.
It is the combined sense of charity, adventure and friendship that transpires during the Variety Bash that keeps the team coming back each year. “This year we’re really looking forward to heading up to Cape York,” Mr Blissett said.
“This is an area I have wanted to visit but never had the opportunity. It’s also a great chance to escape the mundane of everyday life and although we have to abide by the rules of society, out in the bush you feel as though ‘big brother’ does not have the same strangle hold over you.
“There’s a nice sense of freedom that many do not have in their everyday lives.”
Last year, more than 134 vehicles took part in the event, raising more than $1.82 million net, and this year even more are expected to compete.
The Variety Bash was created by businessman and philanthropist Dick Smith in June 1985 and since then has raised more than $115 million for Variety, The Children’s Charity.
Donations can be made to Car 812 at http://2012nswbalmaintobam aga.gofundraise南京夜网.au/page /NSWCar_812.
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