Variety WA – helping others and having a great time!

Variety WA – helping others and having a great time!
Variety WA – helping others and having a great time!  

My husband, Geoff, and I have been passionate supporters of Variety WA for twenty-four years. As an avid motorist, Geoff took part in his first Bash, Australia’s largest and longest-running charity road trip, in 2000, and we participated together in our first 4WD event in 2004. About fifteen years ago, we changed our roles as participants to become volunteers with the charity’s many motoring events. These include the Bash, 4WD Adventure, Creative Car Cruise, and Motorbike Run. Participants contribute to the cause by raising money, with each car entry typically generating a minimum of $4000 to $8000, all directly donated to Variety. They then set off on a fun-filled adventure drive to thank them for their fund-raising, including visiting country, remote, and special-needs schools. 

Variety – the Children’s Charity WA, is all about empowering children who are sick, experiencing disadvantage, or living with a disability by providing vital and practical equipment, programs, and experiences to help them overcome the obstacles they face. Variety has provided equipment such as an iPad and specialist apps for children with autism, vehicle modifications, modified bicycles, and wheelchairs for children with physical disabilities, and also offered scholarships and camps, and so much more, all in the name of helping children gain mobility, freedom, increased self-esteem, and independence. 

My husband Geoff is a licensed land surveyor and has worked throughout all of Western Australia, so he took on the role of planning and mapping adventure routes for participants to drive. Each day, he and I set off ahead of the cars, placing arrows to direct them on unknown courses. I also write daily quiz questions and puzzles for the participants, and we dress up in silly theme costumes!

In March this year, we were volunteers on a four-day Creative Car Cruise which included a route designed by Geoff of winding roads through Dwellingup, Mandurah, Bridgetown, Pemberton, and Bunbury. Participants were treated to a ride on the Pemberton tram, had breakfast at the historic Pemberton pool, and danced the night away at the Peel Thunder Clubrooms. We visited two special-needs schools, presenting a grant of $20,000 to one of the schools. Parents told heart-wrenching stories of their beautiful children and we met some of the amazing staff who dedicate their time to care for these students. 

To qualify for the Creative Car Cruise, vehicles can be classic or muscle cars and, for the car buffs, over the years this has included a 1968 Fairlane, a Camaro, a 1959 Ford Skyliner, a Maserati GranTurismo, a 1936 Austin, and a 1958 Ford Thunderbird. 

Nineteen cars participated this year, with participants raising their money through Bunnings sausage sizzles, sponsors, or through funds from their businesses. Due to the outstanding generosity of these people, over $225,000 was raised! Even after all our years of volunteering, we are amazed at the kindness of others.

Mrs Gillian Robb | Education Assistant