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Paddle against poverty

Paddle against poverty

Surfers paddle 15 kilometres, raising $16,000 to release kids from poverty

The charity event involved a 7.00am start and hours of arm-burning paddling, but event organiser Daniel Hatton said the pain was worth it to raise money for the 5 children the group supports through child sponsorship organisation Compassion Australia.

“Three hours paddling along one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world to help kids that would otherwise not be eating … it is totally worth it,” Mr Hatton says.

The paddle took between 3 and 4 hours to complete, with supporters donating to the individual participants. Their combined fundraising efforts secured an impressive $16,000. The money raised will support the group’s sponsored children and hundreds of other children in need around the world through Compassion’s Unsponsored Children Fund. The Paddle Against Poverty event is an annual fundraising effort of North Wollongong Christian Surfers, who have supported Compassion Australia for the past 14 years.
Mr Hatton said the conditions meant that the paddle was challenging, but advanced board skills were not required — just a passion to make a difference. “I would encourage people that it’s not all pro surfers,” he said. “There’s an equal mix of gender, and plenty of novices participate as well. They are all freaked out at the idea and they think they can’t do it but the youngest was 8 years old and the oldest was 73. You’re more capable than you think.”
The local community also got involved, with the Surf Lifesaving Club and Marine Rescue following the group’s progress. Their presence helped relieve the surfers of their biggest fear during the paddle – sharks. “It is a worry: we’ve seen sharks most years actually, but we have lots of support. Lots of the surf lifesaving club members are on their jet skis looking out for us,” Mr Hatton says.
Compassion’s Communications Manager, Amy Lanham, was thrilled with the event’s success. “Volunteers are a huge blessing for not-for-profit organisations like Compassion Australia. The money raised means hundreds of children in need will have the opportunity for a better future.”

Photos: © Aaron Hughes

Written by: Berlinda Fortin

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