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Celebs Line up for Variety charity rally


Prime Minister John Key is the best-known face signed to line up with the crews as the 25th Variety Trillian Bash arrives at the Beehive in Wellington on March 10.

But his busy schedule means he won’t be among the celebrities joining the Variety Trillian Bash as it zig zags along 1800km of North Island road this year, calling in at schools along the way before finishing at Auckland’s MOTAT on March 14.

A number of Kiwi entertainers have already confirmed they’ll be among the crazy classic-car crews, with Mark Wright tipped to fill Ewen Gilmour’s shoes as MC.

Among them will be Variety Ambassador Simon Dallow, of TV One fame. The lanky newsreader is a regular Basher who will ride with the crews for all but a few mid-week days, when the studio calls him away.

“Variety – The Children’s Charity does a great job of filling the gaps,” he says. “We’re not trying to cure cancer, or send a child to Disneyland. We’re aiming to help the ordinary Kiwi battler whose kid needs a piece of specialist equipment, or whose rural school can’t afford that sports kit or the fuel to help their kids mix with their peers, the kind of stuff that helps children step up to the plate and fulfill their potential.”

Simon adds, “And the Bash is a fantastic way to raise that money, deliver those grants, and entertain kids along the way – often in areas that don’t get Christmas parades, or see the celebs who normally stick to urban centres. Better yet, it’s a lot of fun – Bashers don’t see why doing good shouldn’t be enjoyable, or why it shouldn’t involve as much entertainment as hard work.”

Also joining the event for a few days is children’s entertainer Suzy Cato. Cato’s a firm fan, not only because it gives the adults a chance to be a kid again, but because of the funds it raises for so many disadvantaged kids around the country.

She said: “The Bash often visits communities tucked away in the back of beyond, which find it difficult to access some services and entertainment. The Bash teams get to create a bit of fun for them, and perhaps give them a hand while they’re at it.”

As for Mark Wright, the actor, comedian and raconteur will need to muster all his improv skills to wrangle the famously zany Bash teams. The Theatresports champion and Variety ambassador will be presenting grants, making speeches, and trying to keep the convoy of nearly 40 classic cars and fire engines en route to reach their target of up to four schools each day.

No doubt he’s already memorizing the complex schedule, to ensure the Bash hits every school, every town – and the Beehive – on time.

The schedule (more details will be announced closer to the time):

March 7

  • New Plymouth, includes kids surf competition
  • Normanby
  • Ohakea

March 8

  • Bulls – school kite contest
  • Marton
  • Ohakune

March 9

  • Waiouru
  • Mangaweka
  • Shannon
  • Upper Hutt
  • Wellington

March 10

  • Wellington – arrive Beehive 9.15
  • Lower Hutt
  • Featherston
  • Masterton

March 11

  • Masterton
  • Opaki
  • Napier

March 12

  • Napier
  • Taupo
  • Rotorua
  • Tauranga

March 13

  • Tauranga
  • Matakana Island
  • Cambridge

March 14

  • Cambridge
  • Thames
  • Ellerslie
  • MOTAT evening function

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