Cheques totalling nearly $13,000 have been handed over to Hunter region charities through the Heaven Can Wait Yacht Club, following the very successful 2008 Heaven Can Wait 24 hour yacht race, held on the October long weekend.
The NSW Cancer Council’s Hunter Division received a cheque for $6615, while the Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol Lake Macquarie Division was given a cheque for $2835, at a presentation ceremony at the Royal Motor Yacht Club Toronto on Monday December 15.
Additionally Lake Macquarie MP and Lake Macquarie Council Mayor Greg Piper made personal donations of $1000 each to both organisations at the ceremony, while a raffle organised through the online-based Trailer Sailer Place raised $1200 for the Cancer Council.
In making the presentations and his own personal donations, Cr Piper paid tribute to the work of the Cancer Council and the Coastal Patrol.
'All of us are touched by cancer in some way, and the Cancer Council plays a vital role in prevention, research and support, while the Coastal Patrol’s work in and around Lake Macquarie is essential in helping boaters on our beautiful waterway,' he said.
All race fees paid by entrants to the Heaven Can Wait (HCW) races – the 24 hour race held on October 4-5, and the shorter 'One Lap Dash' run over the same course on October 4 – were earmarked to be distributed to the Cancer Council and Coastal Patrol.
Nearly 50 boats participated in this year’s third annual HCW race, which was conceived and inaugurated by Lake Maquarie sailor and HCW YC Commodore Shaun Lewicki while he was recovering from severe cancer.
'I’m delighted to be able to hand over these substantial funds to the Cancer Council, which plays a vital role in researching cancer, advising individuals and the community on cancer prevention and awareness, and in supporting cancer sufferers and survivors, and their families,' said Lewicki.
'We are also very pleased to be able to show our appreciation in a tangible way to the Coastal Patrol, without whose on-water support and assistance throughout the 24 hour race, we would be unable to hold this event.'
Planning is already well under way for the fourth annual HCW race, to be held again on Lake Macquarie over the October 2009 long weekend, from October 3-4.
'Next year’s race will again be co-hosted by RMYC Toronto, which came on board this year as co-host of the HCW race, and played a crucial part in its success, and raising its profile,' Lewicki said.
'We are working closely with RMYC Toronto to develop awareness and support for next year’s event among all clubs and sailors on Lake Macquarie, as well as those in Sydney and further afield.
'This event is becoming recognised as an iconic sailing event, giving sailors the opportunity to participate in a challenging event over a full 24 hours, in the safe, confined waters of Lake Macquarie, with on-water support available at all times.
'We look forward to seeing this event grow significantly in future years – helping put Lake Macquarie on the map as a fantastic sailing destination – and at the same time raising significant amounts of money to help fight the scourge of cancer,' he said.
In accepting the cheque from HCW YC – which was presented on the club’s behalf by Lake Macquarie Mayor and local MP Greg Piper – Leigh Buckland from the NSW Cancer Council’s Hunter Region paid tribute to the support provided through the event over the past three years.
'When Shaun first conceived of this event, he specifically planned it to raise funds for cancer research and awareness, and the Cancer Council has been a beneficiary of this since the inaugural HCW race in 2006,' she said.
'This year, we will be using these funds for research into and to raise awareness of men’s cancers.
'With sailing attracting a large male demographic, and there being a reluctance on the part of many men to pay sufficient attention to their health through regular checkups and being aware of warning signs, we believe this is a very appropriate focus,' said Buckland.
Frank Jarvie, Division Commander for the RVCP’s Lake Macquarie Division, said the funds donated by HCW YC would go towards an additional rescue boat for the division.
'This money will help considerably in our goal of purchasing a new rescue boat, which will play a key part in our role of assisting people on the water and saving lives,' he said.
Heaven Can Wait Yacht Club burgee -
For more information on the HCW 24 hour yacht race, please visit the website at www.heavencanwait.com.au
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