Well done partner
THE MAD Butcher and Suburban Newspapers are officially heroes.
The two groups are partners in a community trust that has won a Robin Hood Foundation Social Hero Award.
Recognised for engaging with the community, trust chairman Peter “The Mad Butcher” Leitch QSM, was taken aback by the award.
“Getting involved in these sorts of things isn’t about awards, it’s about doing it because it needs to be done,” he says.
“The trust has amazing people that it calls on all the time for help and it shows that when everyone does a little, a lot can be achieved.”
He praised trust member Mike Morton, who now owns the Mad Butcher business.
“He has come in and taken up the challenge of the trust and I admire that.”
Trust deputy chairman David Penny is the general manager of Fairfax Suburban Newspapers Auckland, which publishes the Central Leader.
“When you publish community newspapers, surely you have an obligation to give something back to the community.
“Peter often says the most precious thing you can give someone is your time, and he certainly gives plenty of his to the trust.
“The energy and drive he brings makes that time twice as valuable.”
Koru Care owner and trust member Terry Baker was at the awards night at St Matthew-in-the-City church and welcomed the honour as a fitting tribute to Mr Leitch’s drive in supporting the community.
The trust’s only aim is helping the community. It tries to do that by giving a hand-up and not a handout.
Founded in 1998 the first major project was Operation Clear Ear in 1999 to address a glue ear crisis.
The condition sees a gummy substance building up in the ear, muffling hear- ing and means difficulties learning to speak, in the classroom and on the playground.
Waiting lists for surgery meant children had to wait up to a year for treatment.
Working with the South Auckland Health Foundation, two community clinics provided surgery for all the children on the south Auckland waiting list and now 120 children can hear again.
The trust has since been involved in other initiatives, notably sponsorship of a burns unit for children at Kidz First hospital, Camp Quality and CanTeen for youngsters fighting cancer.
Other support has gone to the Cancer Foundation, Look Good Feel Better, youth suicide, the Meningitis Trust, the region’s hospices, prostate cancer and Plunket.
The trust has also raised funds for computers for Auckland primary schools and provided thousands of dollars worth of books to literacy projects.
It has also bought medical equipment urgently needed across the region.
Allergy New Zealand, Cure Kids and the Foundation for Alcohol and Drug Education have been supported. The hospice donations took the total donated past $1 million.
All trust members are volunteers and the trust ensures that every cent raised goes to the cause being supported.
Mr Leitch says while it is nice to be recognised the true stars are the trust’s key sponsors, Glengarry Wines, Lion Breweries and the Radio Network.
“It’s a bit embarrassing when you get called a hero, but the real heroes are the people who turn out to help us event after event, or give us their products, and especially those who buy tickets.
“It’s simple – without them, there would be no events.”
Partners in time: Suburban Newspapers creative director David Jones, left, Peter “The Mad Butcher” Leitch, and editor-in-chief David Kemeys.