THE Variety Club's Newcastle Bash may have been Ron Skinner's 23rd in total, but it will forever hold a special memory for him.
Mr Skinner, who raced in his car affectionately known as 'Madonna', came away with the award for the highest individual fundraiser for the event after raising more than $12,000.
Mr Skinner was not alone in the event, with fellow Valley residents John Fogarty, Lance Timms and Darren Babington also racing in 'Madonna'.
Mr Skinner said he was 'chuffed' with the award, and was pleased the people who had donated money were recognised in this way.
"It was a great feeling to get the highest award, especially for all the business houses and individual people who donated to the cause," he said.
Mr Skinner said the week-long bash, held from May 15-21, had been a fantastic experience.
"It was a great bash. We did presentations all around to different schools, and they included things like learning aids for underprivileged kids, and wheelchairs," he said.
The Variety Club in Australia has raised and spent more than $90million and assisted many thousands of Australian children with very special needs.
Grants made by Variety range from the provision of state-of-the-art wheelchairs and computers to specially equipped and furnished 'Sunshine' Coaches, urgently needed equipment and facilities for children's organisations and hospitals.
The number of grants approved in 2002 in New South Wales were 295, totaling more than $1.4million.