Mad Butcher’s on a ride
Two charities are both $12,500 better off after the launch of What a Ride Mate! The Life and Times of the Mad Butcher.
The biography of Peter Leitch, written by sports journalist Phil Gifford, was launched by Prime Minster Helen Clark, who also handed cheques to Allergy New Zealand and the Breast Cancer Society.
The Mad Butcher told the audience he owed the charities a great deal since his own grandson had food allergies and his wife Janice was a breast cancer survivor.
Miss Clark said Mr Leitch was a remarkable man with a heart of gold but who was by no means a soft touch.
His astonishing charity work meant a man from humble beginnings on the West Coast who had grown up in a working class family in Wellington’s Newtown, had gone on to build a business empire.
“No matter how well you think you know someone reading a biography always offers insights and Peter’s is a great story,” she said.
“His message is really that if you work at it you can build your dream.”
Sports broadcaster Murray Deaker also paid tribute, acknowledging the Mad Butcher’s support during his own illness.
“When I had my breakdown you were always there for me and that quality of loyalty is important to you.”
The Sky TV and Radio Sport broadcaster described his friend as having a healthy ego, being shrewd and sometimes even manipulative – but above all, never boring.
“He’s his own man and the book reflects that, because it is sincere and genuine.”
Vodafone Warrior Logan Swann wished Mr Leitch a happy 64th birthday and described him as a rock who lived by the old-fashioned belief that you should treat people as you wanted to be treated yourself.
“Everyone has words they use to describe Butch but if I had to chose just one it would be ‘priceless’,” he said.
Thanking the guests and speakers Mr Leitch said he was overwhelmed by the generosity shown to him.
“That a prime minister would make time available for an old leaguie says a lot and is very humbling,” he said.
While he was concerned he might be embarrassed if the book ended up on sale for $1 if no one wanted to buy it, he hoped that wouldn’t happen because he was proud to be able to donate the proceeds to charity.
What a Ride Mate! The Life and Times of the Mad Butcher, published by Harper Collins, is in bookstores now.
Hey coach: All Black coach Graham Henry gets his copy of the Mad Butcher’s biography, by writer Phil Gifford, signed by the man himself.