Well-known local North Shore identity Paddy Stafford-Bush is always up for a challenge. The long-time Bayswater resident, who received a QSM for services to the community in January 2018, is a tireless worker for the community, always having a number of charitable projects on the go. Her latest fun project is being part of the only women's team doing the 2019 Bangers to Bluff Rally – driving an “old banger" from Auckland to Bluff with her daughter Mia – entering as team Mum N Mia.
We profiled Paddy in our March 2018 issue of Channel, shortly after she had received the New Year's Honour. At that time, Paddy told Christine Young she was stunned by the honour, and, as is her way, frequently steered the conversation away from herself to the community groups and projects she has worked with.
A year on, nothing has changed. During our chat I discovered she is the Chair and has led the transformation of North Shore Events Centre (now Eventfinda Stadium), is an active member of Devonport Rotary (currently assisting with organising the Fine Home Tour event) and the Bayswater Community Committee, is the patron of The Rose Centre (she was a driving force in its establishment 26 years ago), is a member of the Rose Singers Group, sits on the Heart of the City board, is still involved with the North Shore Heritage Trust (and was a founding trustee). She also does regular building projects with Habitat for Humanity and is passionately committed to the Bobby Stafford-Bush Foundation, a trust established in memory of her late son. The focus of the Foundation has been on sponsoring young people with passion and drive in their chosen field but who are short of funds. On top of all this, her three Arrowtown-based grandsons (aged seven, eight and 11) are a real focus. She loves spending time with them down south, particularly being a helper on their ski instruction days.
The Bangers to Bluff Rally is an annual charity event organised by the Rotary Club of Half Moon Bay. Paddy and Mia will be traveling to Bluff with a small group of like-minded adventurers (15 vehicles in total), on a carefully crafted route. The Bangers to Bluff Rally website says this is “a unique and rich experience, the start of lifelong friendships and participation in greatly appreciated support for widely loved and respected New Zealand charities”. The chosen charities benefiting from this 2019 event are Multiple Sclerosis NZ and Hopeworks Foundation. Hopeworks is the "go to" umbrella organisation for those suffering from brain injuries.
These charities are both close to Paddy’s heart as she has had two friends affected by MS and her late son Bobby passed away 17 years ago as a result of a brain injury.
As many people will know, Paddy – a self-confessed ’salesperson’ – is pretty good at raising money for charities, and her efforts with Bangers to Bluff has been no different. More than a week out from the event, she had all her sponsors in place and her key fundraising target had been exceeded, thanks to the raffle she has organised being over subscribed. The winner will receive a week's accommodation in Queenstown. Paddy’s good friend Chris Mullane JP, the Bayswater Druid, is to draw the raffle at the ‘show and tell’ for the vehicles at the Caffeine & Classics meet at Smales Farm in late March.
The event for 2019 runs from Auckland to Bluff over 12 days and is scheduled to start on April 2nd and finish on April 13th. Participants meet each day for breakfast and receive their instructions. There are tasks to complete each day.
Paddy has purchased her old banger – an older Holden Barina from a fellow Rotarian for under the allowed $2000 mark - and is being supported by a range of sponsors including MSC Engineering; Regraves/Home Fabrics; SantaFe Blinds; Bennie Builders. Benefitz (publishers of Channel Magazine) have also provided support, as has National Mini Storage.
The day we met with Paddy for the purpose of this Channel Magazine article, she had just picked up her banger that had been wrapped by our team at Benefitz in a fabric pattern – called Fiore Slate Amethyst – supplied by Gerald Sheehy of Regraves Home Fabrics. The pattern is part of the Exotica Collection produced by Clarke & Clarke for Redgraves. Gerald, who has a personal reason for supporting Paddy, has also had a cape each made for Paddy and Mia from the fabric.
"Our Dad always told us to be part of, and be generous with, the community but to do it below the radar. But all that flies out the window when you get involved with someone like Paddy who is constantly doing great stuff in our community and in other parts of the world,” said Gerald Sheehy, when quizzed about his reasons for his support. "Once Paddy, who is almost impossible to refuse anyway, told us it was for MS research and brain injury we had to be in. We were aware that Paddy lost her son to brain injury and we had family experience of brain diseases.
"It is always gratifying to know we work with companies who have the same attitude as us. In fact we make it one of our priorities. We always want to deal with companies who deal with us, purchase from our customers if you like. We also want to work with suppliers who engage with the local community. In that regard I want to acknowledge you and your team at Benefitz, Aidan, who helped wherever they could with this project and also the team at National Mini Storage."
While they are the only female team, Paddy and Mia aren't the only Devonport Rotary team doing the Bangers to Bluff Rally. Team Rob'n'Roy is made up of Rob Lauder and Roy Dykes. Their car is a 2002 Toyota Avalon 3 Litre V6 Saloon. Rob says that Penrite has donated new fluids (oils, coolant) for the motor so it should be in top condition. As part of their fundraising efforts they have offered the opportunity to the lucky prize winner of a week's holiday in either Mt Maunganui (on the beach) or in Ohakune. Ron also adds that their car will be fitted with a very loud truck horn so they can draw attention to themselves and their sponsors!
For more information visit: http://www.bangerstobluff.co.nz/