Sur­vival tale to dine out on at Christ­mas lunch

Central Leader - - News -

The diver who was lost at sea for four days and three nights will tell all as part of the Mad Butcher Sub­ur­ban News­pa­pers Com­mu­nity Trust Christ­mas lunch.

For­mer navy diver Rob He­witt was miss­ing off Kapiti Is­land for so long searchers were out looking for a body when they found him.

Mr He­witt’s amaz­ing sur­vival story cap­ti­vated world audiences and now he will tell it at the Eller­slie Con­ven­tion Cen­tre on De­cem­ber 12.

The brother of for­mer All Black and Danc­ing with the Stars win­ner Norm was twice so con­sumed by hope­less­ness that he tried to kill him­self by un­zip­ping his wet­suit to fill it with wa­ter so he would drown.

Trust chair­man Peter Leitch says Mr He­witt’s story makes who­ever hears it ex­am­ine their pri­or­i­ties.

And the trust has taken a change in ap­proach this year, with in­di­vid­u­als urged to buy tick­ets and come along.

“In the past we have tar­geted cor­po­rates and we hope they will still come but this year we want lots of peo­ple to buy in­di­vid­ual tick­ets and we will make up ta­bles for them be­cause Rob just has to be heard.”

All the pro­ceeds will be do­nated to Kidz First hospi­tal at Mid­dle­more and any­one who at­tends will have the op­por­tu­nity to bid for auc­tion items to kit out the spe­cial chil­dren’s rooms in the new in­ten­sive care fa­cil­i­ties.

Mr He­witt says the ex­pe­ri­ence changed his pri­or­i­ties and he will never for­get the an­gel and devil that sat on each shoul­der whis­per­ing to him.

“What got me through was hope, and hav­ing faith.”

That faith was re­warded when at 4.02pm on Wed­nes­day, Fe­bru­ary 8, 2006, he was res­cued.

“I re­mem­ber the ex­act mo­ment be­cause I thought the boat was an­other hal­lu­ci­na­tion.”

He is try­ing to be a bet­ter per­son and a bet­ter fa­ther.

“I’m only hu­man. I slip back into the old ways but I think I am a bet­ter fa­ther and part­ner now.”

The trust helps the com­mu­nity and has given away more than $1 mil­lion.

Ev­ery cent goes to good causes. There are no ad­min­is­tra­tion staff and trustees all vol­un­teer – they even have to pay for their own tick­ets to func­tions.

To get tick­ets email shan­dall@ or call her on 268-2912. Ta­bles of 10 are $1800 plus GST while sin­gle tick­ets are $180 plus GST.

Changed man: Rob He­witt says his pri­or­i­ties have changed for­ever.

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