Ironman Day splashes out on rescue chopper

By EMMA CORNFORD

THE ANNUAL Ironman Day on Thursday has turned to the wonders of technology in a bid to raise more money for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.

Each year, Seelands artist Graeme Payne donates a sporting caricature to auction during the day. This year the original will be auctioned on internet auction site E-Bay while a print will go under the hammer in Grafton.

Ironman day organiser Ian Speechley said the new approach would give people from outside the Clarence a chance to support the Westpac Helicopter service.

"It means we can get more money from the outside so we're not asking the locals to reach into their pockets all the time," he said.

"But we wanted something for the locals to bid for as well so they'll be able to bid for the signed print."

This year the artwork features Australian swimming legends Ian Thorpe and Grant Hackett. Both sportsmen have signed the original and the print.

Mr Speechley said 72 teams had entered this year's competition, making it the biggest yet in its seven-year history.

"It's more than just a fundraiser; it's a good, fun day for police, business people and members of the public to come together for one cause because unfortunately a lot of people in our area have to call on the helicopter each year," he said.

"We've raised $80,000 for the helicopter so far, so this year we're hoping to break the $100,000 barrier."

The Ironman Day competition draw will be published tomorrow.



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