Southlanders spreading Christmas cheer

St Theresa's School chorister George Shirley (11) sings for the crowd at the YMCA Carols by Candlelight. Photo: Hayden Williams

THE YMCA Carols by Candlelight event was held at the Queens Park Band Rotunda last Thursday.

More than 1000 people turned up to hear the Ensemble Choir and Friends sing carols and Christmas songs, accompanied by the Ascot Park Hotel Brass Band.

Liv Cochrane also gave a solo performance.

YMCA executive assistant Tania Conner said the months of planning had been worth it. “There’s a real sense of community when everyone gets together. It was packed out. There was a great turnout from rest homes as well. It was a great result. We’re absolutely stoked.”

Song books, neon candles and YMCA glow in the dark wristbands were available for sale on the night and there was also a fundraising barbecue.

Ms Conner said about 600 candles and 34kg of sausages were sold to cover costs.

Christmas In The Bluff

Santa and his helpers borrow the Bluff Coastguard’s boat during this year’s Christmas In The Bluff. Photo: Supplied

Christmas in The Bluff was held earlier this month.

Hundreds of people lined Gore St as the street parade featuring floats, boats, classic cars, motorbikes, hot rods, trucks, tractors and more passed by.

The parade finished at the oyster festival site and the crowds followed to enjoy an afternoon of entertainment and activities, including Santa’s Grotto, jelly-eating competitions and candy cane fishing.

The decorated Christmas tree competition was won by Sanfords with a tree themed as the “SS Integrity”.

Committee spokeswoman Debbie Fife said she was very pleased with the day.

“Everyone is enjoying the day, there has been a great turnout and the parade was the biggest we have had. Everything went really well.”

Ukulele Christmas Party

Community kaumatua (elders) enjoy a Ukulele Christmas Party at Te Tomairangi Marae last week. Photo: Hayden Williams

Ukulele Christmas Party was held at Te Tomairangi Marae last week.

Event organiser Frances Maheno said about 25 people attended the party, including members of Invercargill’s Kaumatua Kapa Haka group.

Attendees sang waiata (songs) accompanied by 12 ukulele players and a guitarist from Te Puna Waiora Ukulele Group.

The ukulele group began in 2010 with five female members known as the super grans, she said.

The super grans still visited retirement homes to entertain residents there, but the ukulele group had grown since then to form Te Puna Waiora Ukulele Group, Ms Maheno said.

The group meets on Wednesday afternoons at Te Pakiaka at the Southern Institute of Technology campus on Forth St. Anyone of retirement age

Anyone of retirement age who played the ukulele (the group does not teach) was welcome to come along and join in, Ms Maheno said.

For more information, phone or text Ms Maheno on 027 748 8646.

Christmas Food Drive at Snap Fitness 

Invercargill Snap Fitness club manager Tiffany Sandoe flexes her muscles lifting one of the boxes of pet-food items donated by staff and clients at the Snap Fitness gym. Photo: Hayden Williams

Invercargill Snap Fitness club manager Tiffany Sandoe flexes her muscles lifting one of the boxes of pet-food

ITEMS were donated by staff and clients at the Snap Fitness gym onTay St as part of the staff’s annual Christmas Food Drive this week.

Invercargill Snap Fitness club manager Tiffany Sandoe said all items collected would be donated to Furever Homes, a local charity which helps animals in need, and the Southland Food Bank.

The team had also included a “sanitaryitems” box at the gym to collect items less commonly donated to the Southland Food Bank such as toothpaste and shampoo.

“If we fill a second box of sanitary items, it will go to theWomen’s Refuge. We know, sadly, that Christmas is their busiest time of the year.”

The Christmas initiative is in its second year.

“We wanted to do something as a team. Last year we collected about three boxes, but we’ve already doubled that.”

Family Works supporting families in need

Family Works food parcel co-ordinator Carol Brown (centre)and assistants Sharon Wishart (left) and Kimberley Smith prepare 50 food parcels for Southland families in need this Christmas. Photo: Petrina Wright

EVERY year, staff at Family Works prepare food parcels with support and donations from Southland businesses, church groups, schools, suppliers and individuals to be given to their clients in most need.

Family Works food parcel co-ordinator Carol Brown said the support the agency received every year was amazing.

“If you think the world can be a negative place, you only need to have a look at the generosity of people over this time to change your mind,” she said.

“It really is humbling to see the real spirit of Christmas and giving come to the fore. The great thing about that is that we are able to put together food parcels of a really good quality for families, and that’s really important to us.”

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