Shear4Blair raises over $200,000 for the Southland Charity Hospital

12 February 2022
Shear4Blair raises over $200,000 for the Southland Charity Hospital

Over Waitangi weekend a group of shearers, pressers, rousies, wool handlers, and support crew came together for the Shear4Blair Shearathon. Thanks to their marathon effort they have raised over $200,000 for the Southland Charity Hospital with more still to come.

The fundraising total had previously been reported at over $130,000. This included the shearers wages, cash donations, sponsorships, and donated products that were auctioned off.

The total was given a huge boost yesterday following a significant cash donation from an anonymous donor, increasing the total to over $200,000 so far.

An amazing event that surpassed expectations

According to Southland Charity Hospital board member Melissa Vining there are no words to describe what this amazing group of people achieved.

“It was an awesome event.  It was emotional to watch the shearers and their support crew working, especially as they closed in on, and surpassed, their 10,000th lamb,” she said.

The Shear4Blair event was held from 6am on Sunday through to 2pm on Monday at Wohelo Station woolshed in Moa Flat, West Otago. 

Event organiser Jared Manihera said the event went better than anticipated, despite having to be postponed a day due to the weather.

“It really blew us away with the level of support we received.  It’s hard to believe how many people volunteered their time and supported the event with donations, sponsorships, and products to be auctioned.”

Putting in the hard yards

The Shear4Blair tally board was regularly updated to show how the team was tracking.

The event saw shearers putting their bodies on the line as they completed 24 hours of shearing time, broken into twelve two-hour runs.  Four key shearers completed the full 24 hours and several supporting shearers who rotated through the remaining three stands. 

The four key shearers were Brayden Clifford, Cole Wells, Eru Weeds, and David Gower. 

Brayden Clifford was one of the four key shearers, completing 24 hours of shearing during the Shear4Blair Shearathon. Credit: Findlater Photography

Manihera said he is so proud of all those involved in the weekend and how hard they worked, but he was particularly proud of the four 24-hour shearers. 

“Now that it’s over everyone’s reflecting on the weekend and realising what we achieved.”

“I’ve talked to Brayden, Cole, Eru, and David and they all say they’re a bit sore, still a bit tired, but mostly just over the moon about what they’ve done.”

“For them, it was all about the cause.  They worked so hard and pushed their way through to the end.”

“Everyone had their own reasons for being involved.  Many of us have been touched by cancer in some way and this was a way of fighting back against that.”

A team effort

The idea for the Shear4Blair came from Matt Hunt.  He was set to be on the first stand until a last-minute injury saw Clifford step in as the shearer and Hunt supporting him in the pens.   

Matt Hunt supported Brayden Clifford from the pens after a last-minute injury meant he wasn’t able to shear. Credit: Findlater Photography

Among the supporting shearers was a shearing legend, 81-year-old Snow Quinn.  He even brought his gear, the first time it had been used since 1978. 

Another supporting shearer was Shaun Bradley, a West Otago farm manager and cancer survivor.  In 2020 the first shearathon was held to raise funds for Bradley’s cancer treatment.  When he heard about the Shear4Blair he jumped at the chance to be involved.  Bradley supported shearers for most of the event before picking up the combs in the final two-hour run. He finished the run with a tally of 50 lambs.

A massive thanks and congratulations

On behalf of the Southland Charity Hospital, Vining would like to extend a massive thank you and congratulations to the Shear4Blair organisers, the shearers, and their support crew for their incredible effort and for generously donating your time for this event.  Particularly the shearers, who worked so hard and donated their wages to the hospital. 

Thanks also to Audio Visual Design & Print for the fantastic work live streaming the event, and to Matt Chisholm for hosting the live stream and entertaining viewers with a variety of interviews and commentary.

The total amount raised from the Shear4Blair will be confirmed in the coming weeks as sponsorships and auction sales are finalised.  The money raised from this event will be used to purchase medical equipment for the hospital, which is expected to open later this year.

Shear4Blair photo gallery

Gallery credit: Findlater Photography

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