Charity auction misses big supporter
This year’s Cornerstone Trust charity luncheon will be bittersweet for the McTamney family.
Many of the items in this year’s auction were provided by Martin McTamney, a huge supporter of the trust, who died last month.
After attending a luncheon in 2009, Martin was inspired to provide sporting memorabilia for the auction, some coming from his own extensive collection and others from sporting personalities.
He worked tirelessly to source items, mostly by sending handwritten letters to well-known sportspeople and asking for assistance.
Martin always explained the work of the trust and how money raised would benefit local athletes.
Invariably the recipients of the letters were happy to help.
Items received were then framed, usually with a photograph or a message from the donor, and background research was carried out to add interest to the auction lot.
In some cases this contact started a lengthy association with the trust.
Sir Brian Lochore and the late Sir Colin Meads have helped on many occasions, either as guest speakers or providing memorabilia.
Others like athletics star Yvette Williams and this year’s speaker, racing driver Scott McLaughlin, have been so pleased with the amount raised from an item they donated, that they have continued to support the trust.
Martin’s wife Lyn says he always enjoyed the ‘thrill of the chase’.
“He took considerable time to track people down and was pleased when he could meet them in person to explain what he was doing.
“This included talking to David Campese at his cafe´ in Sydney, going to Karaka to see Bart Cummings and even lining up with the kids at the Weetbix Tryathlon to get Valerie Adams to sign a shirt.”
Lyn says Martin waited with great anticipation for donated items to arrive in the mail.
“He also loved receiving replies or chatting on the phone to the people he had written to.
“I’ve never seen him move so fast as when I told him Bob Charles was on the phone!”
One of his more unusual schemes to help raise money was by growing acorns from the oak tree planted at Timaru Boy’s High by Olympic Champion Jack Lovelock.
Martin contacted the school and asked for acorns from the tree that was presented to Lovelock at the Berlin Olympics.
However, his first attempt failed miserably — none of the acorns grew.
Undeterred, Martin contacted the school again and received a second lot of acorns.
This time he contacted Growing Spectrum at Kihikihi and convinced them to look after them.
The result was seven healthy saplings, of which several have been sold or traded for other items to auction.
Another one of the saplings, now a metre high, is up for grabs in this year’s auction.
Martin and Lyn have attended the luncheon for many years and have always taken keen interest in the auction.
“Martin was especially thrilled when the auction items were well received and raised top dollar for the trust,” says Lyn.
While he won’t be at the luncheon this year, his family will be there in his honour, and his presence will be felt when the memorabilia goes under the hammer.
His greatest legacy, however, will be the significant number of local sportspeople who compete on the world stage, thanks to grants from the Cornerstone Trust.
Martin McTamney (second from left) sourced several items from Joseph Parker for the 2016 fundraiser. He is pictured with highest bidders, from left Lyn Cudby (boxing gloves signed by Parker), Kelvin Williams (signed picture of Parker, with inspirational message) and Ed Blake (tickets to Parker fight). The items raised over $7000 towards the record-breaking total of just over $40,000.
Jack Lovelock (centre) on the podium at the 1936 Berlin Olympics with the oak tree now growing at Timaru Boys’ High. An off-spring is up for auction.
Personalised message from Yvette Williams.