$1.8m raised for charity: Langtree Mall sets the stage for SA Variety Bash finale celebration

A COLOURFUL cast of characters including Precocious Penguins, Smurfs, Hippie Chicks, Bob the Builder and The Joker has helped raise more than $1.8 million for children with special needs and disabilities.

The SA Variety Bash rolled into Mildura on Saturday afternoon for its exciting finale, ending a nine-day, 3600 kilometre celebratory trek, which took more than 300 entrants through country towns in SA, Queensland, NSW and Victoria.

SA’s most successful fundraising event, the Bash has raised more than $28 million in its 24-year history.

This year was the first time Mildura had been selected as the finishing destination.

A welcome visitor to Mildura CEO of Variety SA and former Adelaide Crows champion Nigel Smart said the Bash had an enormous heritage and had continued to grow from strength to strength, often in trying economic times.

“This year, it’s a tough economic climate but we have got 11 new cars in the event for a total of 73, so the event is still going very strong,” Mr Smart said.

“They’ve come from everywhere in SA, from the South East right through to the Eyre Peninsula and many cars from Adelaide and they represent the communities of South Australia, both regionally and metro.

“A few of the vehicles because of their age have not quite got to the line in the last day – they’ve had a few mechanical problems – but other than that it has been a tremendous bash and one that is going to deliver a great result financially.

“When you talk to the participants they’ll tell you they have had a great time.”

At least $1m raised through this year’s Bash will be directed towards a $1.7m upgrade of the adolescent ward at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide.

Mr Smart praised the support of towns along the Bash route, including Mildura, whose support he labelled as “crucial” to the event’s success.

“The Bash is like a moving township – we have close to 350 people who move into a township and support the community,” he said.

“You are looking at $30,000 to $40,000 worth of uplift for towns they we get to.

“It’s an enormous benefit and along the way we have given some very worthy grants and appeals to recipients.”

For more of this story, purchase your copy of Monday's Sunraysia Daily 20/08/2012.

See photos from the event click here

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