Golf balls rain down at tee-rrific Christchurch school fundraiser

Originally published by Otago Daily Times, 16 June 2021

More than 3000 golf balls rained from the sky on Friday as part of a Christchurch school fundraiser. Dubbed Helicopter Hole in Won, St Patrick’s School in Bryndwr raised more than $26,500 towards its junior gymnastic and school ambassador programmes which encourage leadership and technology equipment for pupils.

Hosted by Riccarton Park Golf Complex, the event was the culmination of weeks of hard work by pupils and their families to sell as many golf balls in the community as possible.

Each ball was labelled with a unique number and loaded into the helicopter for the big drop.

To win the grand prize, a person’s ball had to make a hole in one, or closest to it.

And it was lucky number 461, purchased by Gareth Turner, that landed in the hole, getting to take home $1000.

The prize money was donated in memory of Kelsey Davidson who died in 2019.

Davidson taught dance lessons and assisted with choreography for school productions, leaving a positive impact on the lives of many students and staff.

Jo McKenzie, Parents and Friends Association chairwoman, said the fundraiser was a huge success.

“We’re thankful to everyone who has worked hard to make today such an awesome event,” she said.

“We’ve received so much support from students, their whānau and the community, including Christchurch Helicopters Ltd and Riccarton Park Golf Complex.

“We’re so pleased with the result.”

Principal Tom Wallis said the school was appreciative of the time and effort the PFA put into organising such a unique and fun event, which included a barbecue lunch and an afternoon of golf-themed activities for the pupils.

“The funds raised will directly support the junior gymnastics programme, technology equipment and the school’s leadership ambassador programme,” said Wallis.

“It’s been a massive effort by the whole community and one the students will remember for a long time.”