Rock and Hop raffle winner weeps

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by Claire Allison

When Hospice South Canterbury manager Peter O’Neill phoned Sue Conway from the Rock and Hop last month, he was quick to tell her she was not allowed to swear.

The call was being broadcast to the gathered crowd, so everyone could hear Mrs Conway’s reaction to being told she had won the $10,000 raffle, and in that moment had become, in her words, “a ten thousandaire”.

“I said, ‘Can I cry?’ And I cried. Pathetic! It was overwhelming.”

Mrs Conway said she never won anything – “every time I buy a raffle ticket, it’s a donation” – so to win such a big prize was fantastic.

“I’ve spent it 10,000 times over. It changes daily. But it will be spent, for sure. It’s guaranteed to be spent, but the longer I hold on to it, the better. It’s not life-changing – I won’t be quitting my job – but it’s a good amount.”

Mrs Conway bought just one raffle ticket, a workmate at Temuka Transport another, and the boss bought the remaining eight in the book.

She had intended to be at Caroline Bay for the raffle draw – and had helped out at the Temuka Rock and Hop stop on the Friday night – but ended up dogsitting for her brother and was unable to go.

“Maybe it’s just as well I wasn’t there, I would have had to go up in front of all those people .. and cry.”

As it was, Mrs Conway said she did a bit of crying that day, in-between fielding multiple calls from people who had been at the draw, and wanted to congratulate her on her win.

The raffle was made possible through Pleasant Point woman Lana Cox’s generosity. Mrs Cox won a top-of-the-line $16,000 KTM 350 SX-F motorbike and a $1000 package of accessories in a Taubmans paint competition at PlaceMakers last year, and donated the prize to Hospice South Canterbury.

Mr O’Neill said this year’s Rock and Hop event raised $105,000 for Hospice South Canterbury – well up on 2018’s $75,000.

“The increase is due to a number of things, not least that the sun came out on the Saturday and so did the crowds. That was just reward for all the hard work by hundreds of volunteers, with a pretty amazing atmosphere on the Bay.”

Mr O’Neill said other factors included an increase in vehicle registrations, the raffle with donated prizes including $10,000 cash, great support from sponsors, and more stalls and activities.

“When we started this event, we wanted to create something that would benefit the whole community, but we did not think it would get this big this quickly. We limited the event to 1000 vehicles this year, and that feels about right.”

Hospice marketing and event manager Jeanna Munro said the feedback from car registrants had been encouraging.

“The visitors can’t believe the crowds that turn out for the Friday night cruise in particular, and we received numerous comments again on what a great asset the Bay is and how well this event is run compared to other shows.”