Bales4Blair a big earner

    Southland Charity hospital board member Melissa Vining left) receives the donation from #Bales4Blair co-organiser Amy Blaikie.
    #Bales4Blair co-organisers Sarah Dooley (left) and Brooke Cameron proudly show the plate with the names of all the people who donated to the initiative.

    MORE than $81,000 has been raised for the Southland Charity Hospital following a big effort from farmers and the wool community.

    The #Bales4Blair initiative was launched in October last year to collect bales of wool from farmers and businesses to help the charity to insulate the new hospital.

    Co-organiser Amy Blaikie said she was overwhelmed with the support.

    Along with Southland farmers Sarah Dooley, of Mimihau, and Brooke Cameron, of Mokoreta, the group had 412 bales donated by 181 farms and businesses, which were handled through 21 wool stores.

    It resulted in about 64,000kg of wool.

    WoolWorks at Timaru scoured the wool at no cost and facilitated the sale of excess wool not needed for insulation, resulting in a $78,488.55 donation to the Southland Charity Hospital.

    In addition, Terra Lana processed the scoured wool into 100% wool insulation batts for free.

    “We did not have much expectation when we started – we wanted to do something to help this initiative that will help a lot of people.

    “Everybody is stoked. The whole industry really got on board and it is amazing.”

    Last week, the trio delivered the cheque to Southland Charity Hospital board member Melissa Vining, who was speechless with the initiative.

    They also gave her a plate with all the names of farmers who took part in the scheme.

    “This donation personally touches us because it is from farmers and, obviously, Blair was a farmer,” she said.

    “Just the fact they started to support with the insulation and ended up with this huge amount of money, it is really amazing.”

    Mrs Vining said the donation was going to be used to buy wool blankets, uniforms and all wool-made products.

    “That is our first priority. That is such a huge contribution which will help us so much.”

    The hospital development was instigated by Mrs Vining and her late husband, Blair, in September 2019. He died of bowel cancer a month later.

    Mr Vining received a terminal diagnosis in 2018.

    He fought for better healthcare access in the south, garnering national attention, and was the driving force in the creation of the Southland Charity Hospital Trust.

    The hospital was expected to be completed by April.