Bashers create smiles

Local entrants for the 2012 Variety Bash made a short pit-stop at the Latrobe Special Development School to visit the children before they head off on their 12-day journey to northern Australia.

The Latrobe Valley “Bashers”, as they are affectionately known, showed off their outrageously-themed cars, revved their engines and honked their horns in front of a crowd of excited children.

 The crew, some who have been passionately involved with event for many years, brought treats to share with the children and spent time with them, talking about their upcoming adventure to Hamilton Island.

This year’s Variety Bash will officially begin today, with more than 300 bashers departing from Shepparton. 

During the event, participants will travel over 4608 kilometres of rough dirt roads. 

Cowarr local and entrant for 20 years Helen Hoppner said the bash was about getting involved and raising funds for children with special needs and providing learning aids to children living in desolate areas of Australia.

Mrs Hoppner’s long participation in the bash means she will be the first woman to rack up 20 years in a row, yet she said she still “got a kick” out of the being involved. 

“It’s rewarding when you see what can be achieved and how it goes back to the kids is absolutely fabulous; every year you strive to come back and raise more,” Mrs Hoppner said.

“This is a charity close to our hearts, each one of us has been affected by a child with a special need.”

Special school students were thrilled by the opportunity to sit in the driver’s seat of the vehicles.

 Mrs Hoppner said local entrants visited Latrobe Special School annually,  and the children “still remember their faces and names”.

Captain of car 3840 from Morwell, Andy Connolly, said being involved in the Variety Bash was a “heart-warming” experience.

“You get a satisfaction of seeing the kids’ faces, it is definitely a feel good thing to do; we are a big happy family on the road,” Mr Connolly said.

In previous years, the Variety Bash granted the Latrobe Special School equipment as part of the Variety@Work Program and has made other contributions to schools around the region. 

This year the bash will deliver much-needed equipment, such as iPads and wheelchairs, to small schools along their journey.