Himatangi Big Dig ducks the big surf
The wind dropped and the rain stayed away for just long enough for more than 1300 beachgoers to burrow in the Himatangi Beach sands for the Big Dig.
The annual event raises money for the Palmerston North Surf Lifesaving Club, which this year made more than $4100 from Saturday’s dig.
Club treasurer Kate Dench said the turnout was really pleasing, especially in light of the bad weather before and afterwards.
She said the money raised this year would go towards the purchase of a new van.
The club’s current van was more than 12 years old, starting to run up maintenance costs and needed to be replaced.
The van is used to ferry volunteer surf lifesavers from Palmerston North and Marton to the beach each weekend during the summer.
While it was not enough to buy a new van, evidence of the fundraising strengthened the club’s applications to trusts to make up the difference.
Himatangi Beach has three paid lifesavers on duty on weekdays for five weeks from the week before Christmas until the end of January, paid for through Surf Lifesaving New Zealand.
For summer weekends, beachgoers depended on the vol- unteer service, with about eight people on patrol at any time, supported by grants from the Manawatu District Council and Palmerston North City Council.
The volunteers would continue on duty at weekends until the end of March.
Dench said it had been a relatively quiet summer at the beach this year, mostly because weather conditions had been discourag- ing, and the beach had been closed on a number of days when it had been too dangerous to let people in the water.
Isabelle Stock, 3, with the BBQ she won with the token she dug up.