Six in a cage for famine appeal

Wakatipu High School pupils (from left) Dahn Kim (18), of Queenstown, Bruno Shirley (17), of...
Wakatipu High School pupils (from left) Dahn Kim (18), of Queenstown, Bruno Shirley (17), of Speargrass Flat Rd, Frances Allan (17), of Queenstown, Russell Stirling (18), of Arrowtown, Philippa Cochrane (17), of Queenstown, and Sonya Chalmers (17), of Arrowtown, at the end of their 40-Hour Famine appeal, in a cage on Queenstown Mall yesterday. Photo by James Beech.
Despite tasting the wild side of Queenstown, sub-zero temperatures and little sleep, six dedicated Wakatipu High School pupils say they would camp out again in a cage without food on Queenstown Mall for 40 hours for charity.

Philippa Cochrane, Bruno Shirley, Dahn Kim, Sonya Chalmers, Frances Allan and Russell Stirling said they were tired, uncomfortable and "very hungry", as they prepared to exit the 4m-square cage, yesterday at 10am.

However, they were thrilled they had raised $2222 in public donations since their famine fundraiser for overseas aid charity World Vision began on Friday at 6pm.

"There were heaps of people who were extremely generous and people willing to protect us," Philippa said.

Bruno said he was impressed by how much people had given - $250 was the largest single donation.

Many had offered them food and asked about their wellbeing during their 40 Hour Famine.

The music pupils busked to attract attention and donations.

They led sing-a-longs with the public.

Showbiz Queenstown cast members, who celebrated the end of their season of Oliver! on Saturday night, cheered the team with a street performance of Consider Yourself.

Visiting students from the Pennsylvania State University glee club serenaded the group.

Medical students in town for the annual national conference emptied their pockets in to the donations box.

Tourists were curious and residents, family and friends were supportive.

The group thanked everyone for their generosity.

The pupils said they were able to get "spots of sleep" during the quieter periods of 5am to 8am and 7pm to 10pm.

"Where do you go to the toilet" was by far the most frequently asked question and they considered placing a sign on the cage to answer.

Their usual cheeky response was "On people who don't donate".

Some bystanders behaved poorly.

The pupils' heads were prodded with sticks through the wire, takeaway food was spilt on them, an intoxicated man flashed them and they were woken up by a fight.

An intoxicated man jumped on top of their cage and another man set fire to his own money in protest against their fundraising.

Police had kept an eye on the group,who had cellphones, as well as juice, barley sugar sweets, mattresses, sleeping bags, winter clothes and musical instruments.

However, they agreed they would take the 40 Hour Famine challenge again.

"It's such a good cause. You can't help but get behind it," Philippa said.


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