IT all started with Marist Rugby Club stalwart Bernie Brown.
Club president Bill Dowling said it was Mr Brown who proposed the club raise money for the Hawthorndale Care Village.
At the time of the suggestion, the club was in the throes of organising its centennial celebrations which were held during Queen’s Birthday Weekend this year.
“We were going to have an auction of some jerseys so we decided we would donate some of the money towards the project.” Mr Dowling said.
And so it was, $2000 was donated to the Hawthorndale Care Village Charitable Trust – an aged care facility being developed in Invercargill which will see residents live more normalised lives in a safe and village-like secure setting.
Trust member Paddy Dowling said it was a first for a rugby club to contribute towards the project.
“We’ve had great support from the Northern Southland farming community and outside support from a whole lot of people.
“To see a rugby club get behind us is a first,” he said.
There was still $2 million to raise towards the $33 million target with focus now going on garnering support from the corporate community, Mr O’Brien said.
The project is community funded and includes a capital injection from Invercargill’s Calvary Hospital Southland which had the initial vision for the model and whose residents are able to transition to the new village once it is completed.