Mayor pitches in to raise funds

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull begins his descent for charity from the Forsyth Barr Stadium roof to the...
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull begins his descent for charity from the Forsyth Barr Stadium roof to the turf below yesterday. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
Reactions ranging from nervous laughter - just short of hysteria - to strained looks somewhere between fear and desperate exhilaration were obvious at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin yesterday.

For Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull there was a sudden interest in knots, and how well they were tied.

Those reactions came at a sort of preview of Toss the Boss, a Malcam Trust fundraising event this morning in which participants, from University of Otago vice-chancellor Prof Harlene Hayne to Otago Rugby Football Union general manager Richard Kinley, will abseil from the stadium roof to its pitch.

Yesterday morning Mr Cull, who was unable to attend today, stepped off the stadium's upper service gantry 35m above the turf.

Moments before his descent, Mr Cull - whose only previous similar experience was a parachute jump ''about 40 years ago'' - said he had taken an intense interest in the process of abseiling, particularly the knots in the rope that made the difference between a smooth descent and a plummet.

Once dangling from the gantry, he was also required to pose for cameras, then as he descended make a speech to a camera strapped to his helmet.

That footage would be used this morning as an opening video for the event.

Malcam Trust chief executive Andy Kilsby said 20 community leaders would abseil this morning as part of Youth Week, as the trust tried to reach or go beyond its fundraising target of $10,000.

Funding was being raised through website Give a Little.

The Malcam Trust, which runs youth development and transition to work initiatives, would use the money raised for its 12-week full-time courses for young people who needed to ''re-engage with the community'' and work out where they were and where they were going.



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