The Canterbury Squash Foundation held it’s inaugural dinner recently at the Chateau on the Park Hotel in Christchurch. The foundation was formed with several aims in mind, notably to celebrate the history of squash in Canterbury, maintain and increase squash networks, and provide financial support to worthy squash causes. For this event, the cause was to support those squash clubs affected by the Canterbury earthquakes. The support required will be ongoing because some Christchurch clubs are still not open, eight months after the devastating February earthquake.
The dinner was a great success with more than 90 people attending. Joseph Romanos, author of ‘Long or Short? The story of New Zealand Squash’, was the MC. He spoke about aspects of the book and in particular focused on Canterbury’s pivotal role in the early development of New Zealand squash. Then he interviewed a number of squash legends from the Canterbury region, and a future player to watch out for. Joseph interviewed Megan Craig, recent winner of the national junior title and already ranked the 15th among the world’s juniors. Barry Gardiner, Sarah Cook and Rod Hayes were also interviewed. All have had very successful squash careers - Barry has twice won world masters squash titles, Sarah was once a world junior championship finalist and won three New Zealand senior titles, and Rod represented New Zealand in 1976 and 1983. Joseph did a great job: the interviews were funny, serious and informative all at the same time.
There were some notable attendees, including 1976 Olympic hockey gold medalist Selwyn Maister, and another very successful New Zealand hockey player and coach, Pat Barwick. It was also great to see Aucklander Don Cotter support the event. Don is the chairman of the New Zealand Squash Hall of Fame. He, Robin Clements and Lindsay Walton all traveled down from Auckland to attend. The Hall of Fame has also donated a further 26 copies of the history book ‘Long or Short’ to the Canterbury Squash Foundation to raise future funds.
The event raised more than $11000 and donations were until very recently still coming in from squash clubs around the country. Those clubs and squash associations that made donations were: North Shore, Oamaru, Ohakea, SquashGym Palmerston North, Queenstown, Lugton Park, Kawaroa Park, Squash NZ, Squash Canterbury, Gore, Mercury Bay and Malvern.
The event was also well supported by the business community both within Christchurch and further afield. The following businesses made donations to the event: Mondo Travel, Chateau on the Park, Pegasus Bay Winery, Russley Golf Club, Terrace Downs Golf Resort, Ed Post & Associates and GSA Design Palmerston North.
Thanks also to Tim McGoldrick from Harcourts for offering his expert services as auctioneer on the night.
All donations from the squash and business community are gratefully accepted, and the total raised will go a long way to helping out those clubs most affected by the earthquakes.