Couple gives $100k boost to hospital

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An artist's impression of the Southland Charity Hospital, which will be built at the old Clifton Club Inn site.

A HEFTY $100,000 donation from a couple who wish to remain anonymous has taken the Southland Charity Hospital one step closer towards its fundraising goal.

Charity Hospital Board member Melissa Vining said the Southland pair’s donation had given the cause “an enormous boost” on Tuesday.

“They are just beautiful people, and we cannot thank them enough.

“Their act of selflessness is literally going to save the lives of people in our community.”

The couple had shown “mind-blowing” generosity, Mrs Vining said.

The large donation, and the support of “countless others”, meant Southland and Otago families would not lose their husbands, fathers, mothers, children, grandmothers, she said.

“These people are going to be able to lead happy, healthy, long lives, and their loved ones will be spared the indescribable pain of losing them.”

The charity hospital development was instigated by Mrs Vining and her late husband Blair Vining in September 2019, before he lost his battle to bowel cancer a month later.

Mr Vining received a terminal diagnosis in 2018.

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

Mrs Vining said she could not “put into words how much of a difference” the large donation had made for the Southland Charity Hospital’s future.

“Every dollar we raise gets us one step closer to turning the Southland Charity Hospital into a reality.

“Every dollar we raise means we are closer to being able to help our communities.”

The amount of money raised from bricks and plaques bought had totalled more than $170,000 as of yesterday.

However, general donations were yet to be calculated and the total raised overall was set to exceed the figure.

To begin the re-fit of the hospital building, formerly the Clifton Club Inn, donated by the ILT in February, the charity hospital board had to raise a total of $500,000.

The Southland Charity Hospital already had $500,000 in the bank before the Buy a Brick campaign was launched, however, the trust needed to match that before it could proceed with the physical work.

New Zealand’s first “Buy a Brick Day” would be held on Friday, July 31; the trust wanted New Zealanders to take part in a “casual Friday”, wearing red, white and black, and use proceeds to buy supporters’ bricks or commemorative plaques.

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