Bidding frenzy smashes Dusi Charity Batch record

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Charles Webber (left) and Billy Harker once again topped the bids for the Dusi Canoe Marathon Dr Ian Player Memorial Charity batch, which set a new record totals for the races three beneficiary charities. (Supplied/Gameplan Media)

Pietermaritzburg – The hype ahead of next week’s Dusi Canoe Marathon reached fever pitch late on Thursday afternoon as eager paddlers bidding for a spot in the race’s Charity Batch set a new record for money raised for the race’s three charities.

As the hammer went down on the last email bid at exactly 6pm, the 60 successful bidders had raised R 381 712,61, exceeding the previous record of R368 020 set in 2012.

With the 2015 Dusi being dedicated to its founder and inaugural winner Dr Ian Player, who passed away late last year, the Charity Batch, which sets off in a privileged early start time, will be known as the Dr Ian Player Memorial Charity Batch.

Player’s Magqubu Ntombela Memorial Foundation, named after his lifelong guide and mentor, is one of three charities that will share the proceeds from the auctioned batch, along with the Dusi Umngeni Conservation Trust (DUCT) and the Dusi Valley Paddlers Fund.

Repeating their generous feat of last year, the kudos for the biggest bid went to Durbanites Charles Webber of CMH Motor Holdings and surfski aficionado Billy Harker, who together chipped in R21 000 for their place in the batch. Amongst the Charity Batch bidders was current world marathon champion Hank McGregor, who will be paddling with his wife Pippa.

The Magqubu Ntombela Memorial Foundation is committed to encouraging the youth of today to embrace nature and protect our heritage, to support conservation and community-based projects and conserve the Earth and its biodiversity.

The Dusi Umngeni Conservation Trust (DUCT) was set up by a group of concerned paddlers anxious to address the ecological threats to the two river valleys that the race runs through, and has become a full time environmental trouble shooter and problem solver responsible for considerable cleanup and reparation of the river eco-systems.

The Dusi Valley Paddlers Fund channels money raised through Dusi entry fee levies and charity batch bids into projects identified by the chiefs in the valley that the race moves through, as having significant value to the local residents, and the visibility to showcase the contributions of the paddlers.

The 64th edition of the Dusi Canoe Marathon takes place from Camps Drift in Pietermaritzburg to Blue Lagoon in Durban from Thursday 19 to Saturday 21 February 2015. More information can be found at www.dusi.co.za

Pic: Charles Webber (left) and Billy Harker once again topped the bids for the Dusi Canoe Marathon Dr Ian Player Memorial Charity batch, which set a new record totals for the races three beneficiary charities. (Supplied/Gameplan Media)