Local father and son team John Eggert Snr and John Jnr will take to the roads in August to help raise funds for the Starlight Children’s Foundation. Chrissy Jones catches up with them to find out more…
When and why did you both become involved in the Trek4Kids?
We were talking about going in the Kidney Kar Rally at lawn bowls one evening, when we overheard a conversation about a great group of people from Wauchope who volunteer their time to help raise money for the Starlight Children’s Foundation. A quick phone call, an old Commodore resurrected, and we were on our way.
How many Treks have you been on?
We have completed two Treks. The first one saw John Snr blow a turbo in his veggie oil powered Jackaroo on day one near Walgett, on our way to Longreach and back.
Last year saw us head down along the coast of Victoria, around some amazing roads, into South Australia and back to Deniliquin. John Snr was able to ‘beg’ for vegetable oil from the take away shops, to use as fuel, achieving the 6,000 km trip on one tank of diesel
Are there any other locals participating?
Yes there is; we have Michelle McDonald (Trek Director). Michelle has taken on this role for the first time this year. She is the first female director in 14 years. Michelle and her husband Don have been involved with the event for 6 years.
Other locals are Matt and Jo Kirkness, Michael Page, Steven McDonald, Max Pickworth, Michael Eggert, Tom Hearn, Paul Eggert, Noel Dunn, Dave and Gail Moore, Simon Brown, Ben Kirkness and Damien Blair. Then of course, John Jnr and John Snr – 20 locals altogether, which is a great effort.
Is there a reason for the Batman and Robin outfits?
All boys love to dress up. Superman doesn’t have a sidekick or need a car, so we figured Batman and Robin were our only choice. It also makes it easier to sell raffle tickets when dressed as Super Heroes.
We have visited numerous schools, locally and on the Treks; the kids are always very excited to see us. Don’s vehicle is a ‘79 Statesman, the green machine, so it is called Shrek and has a Shrek as the mascot on the front of the vehicle, as well as in the vehicle.
The 2011 Trek route has changed due to localised flooding. What’s the new route?
We will be starting in Wauchope and will have our first night function at the Wauchope Country Club on 20 August. If anyone is interested in attending, they could call Michelle on 0417 204 850; we are also looking for auction items for the night, along with any sponsorship we can get.
Breakfast the next morning will be at the Star Hotel, and then we will head off into the unknown. The Trek continues on through numerous towns, including Inverell, Coonabarabran, Cobar, Broken Hill and Griffith, with the Trek coming to an end in Goulburn.
The theme for this year’s trek is ‘The Wild Wild West’. What’s that entail, and is there usually a theme?
Yes, we usually always have a theme; last year it was Mexican, because we were in Victoria. This year we will be in Broken Hill, so we thought that the Wild West theme was fitting! We always have a theme night on the night before our lay day, that way nobody has to drive the next day. It is our way to celebrate all our achievements.
There are some fundraisers prior to the Trek; tell us about those.
The Trek4Kidz golf day will be held at Wauchope Country Club on 3 July, with a 9am tee off. Format for the day will be a shot gun start, and cost is $25 per head. Bago Tavern will host a fundraising dinner on 29 July @ 6.30 for 7pm sit down, and on 13 August a Trivia Night will be held at the Star Hotel. Contact Michelle for more info if you would like to attend any of these.
Ph: 0417 267 085.
The Batmobile, along with Batman and Robin, will make an appearance or two in the Wauchope town centre to help raise much needed funds for the Starlight Foundation. You can help Batman and Robin help sick kids and their families by purchasing a raffle ticket out the front of the Department Store on Friday 17 June for most of the day and also on 8 and 15 July.
How can readers help? Can they donate monies to the cause?
By making a donation, you are assisting us to help the Starlight Children’s Foundation continue to provide meaningful experiences for children and families across Australia. Your donation is tax deductible, and every person or business who makes a donation will receive an official tax receipt and most importantly, a sense of satisfaction in knowing that their money has been instrumental in helping to put a smile on the face of a seriously ill child. They can also donate on line by visiting the official website: www.trek4kidz.com.
What is the Trek4Kids, how did it all start?
In 1997, a small band of like-minded people from Tuross Head on the far south coast of NSW, decided to organise an event that would not only help change the lives of seriously ill children, but would provide a social event for people who share the drive and ambition for charity work and a keen interest in exploring the great Australian countryside and meeting the many characters our country boasts.
The event is held annually over a week, usually in August and travels through (on dirt tracks and rarely used roads) many different parts of Australia. Over the 14-year history, the trek has visited over 300 towns, 35 schools and numerous hospitals, handing out show bags donated by trekkers’ sponsors and raising awareness about the fantastic job the Starlight Children’s Foundation of Australia do in brightening the lives of seriously ill children and their families.
What is the main aim for the participants in Trek4Kidz?
To enjoy themselves is number one priority and raise awareness of the Starlight Children’s Foundation of Australia.
Trek4kidz is committed to supporting the Starlight Children’s Foundation, who implements programs to make hard times a little easier for every member of a sick child’s family. Over the last 13 years, Trek4kidz has donated over $750,000 to the foundation to assist with these programs. As the Starlight Children’s Foundation receives no financial assistance from the government, this money is so important.
What do you need to become involved?
To become involved in this opportunity, it is imperative that you and your team have a well-developed sense of humour, as it is all about fun, not competition, and you need a passion for seeing new places and meeting new people. Participants also need the ability to listen and follow instructions and a four wheel vehicle of any age – the more unusual the better.
How has the Trek helped the Starlight Foundation?
In 2010 we were able – through the generosity of local communities and businesses across Australia – to donate over $80,000. This money was channelled into providing fun centre upgrades for the Goulburn Base and Tweed Heads Hospitals and other local hospitals. In previous years, Port Base had a fun centre installed.
They have also provided Starlight the funds to grant Starlight Escapes to children in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. The trek has raised over 1million dollars since its conception
Thanks John and John Jnr. Good luck, and have fun!