Moss Cross charity gives back to community

Members of the Moss Cross Memorial Inc charity organisation (from left) Tori Laban, Olivia Adam,...
Members of the Moss Cross Memorial Inc charity organisation (from left) Tori Laban, Olivia Adam, Des Kirk, Diane Dykgraaf, Georgia Redshaw, Paul Farquhar and Tiki Farquhar prepare for the first charity car cruise last year. Photo: Evelyn Thorn
A rural tragedy has blossomed into rural positivity in South Otago.

Joseph "Moss" Cross, who owned rural contracting firm Cross Agriculture, died in 2022.

Mr Cross died eight weeks after being diagnosed with signet ring cell carcinoma of the appendix, a rare and aggressive cancer which sealed his fate at only 36 years old.

His death sparked the creation of a charity in his name, and more than $25,000 has been raised to date, which has helped other families in South Otago going through health turmoil.

His partner, Georgia Redshaw, and their 2-year-old daughter Breeana were with him from when he was diagnosed until his death, including travelling to Hamilton to try last-minute treatments.

While they were away, the South Otago community "stepped up" and raised funds for medical expenses for the family.

"It was just mind-blowing to see so many people who both knew and didn’t know Joseph, step up and help out," Miss Redshaw said.

"Joseph said to me ‘Once I’m out of here, we need to find a way to give back to the people who have helped us,’ but then he didn’t get out of hospital.

"I was very lost and in a bad headspace.

"I needed something to focus on and his words saying we should give back just kept playing in my head," she said.

"In a weird way I felt like people were just going to forget about him ... and that is the last thing I wanted to happen."

After a long talk with her best friend,

The late Joseph "Moss" Cross
The late Joseph "Moss" Cross
Miss Redshaw decided to do something in honour of her late partner.

Mr Cross had a love for Case tractors and classic cars, especially Chrysler Valiants.

The South Otago Town and Country Club had hosted cruises in his honour, so she decided to join up with some of the members there and make it her own.

This became the Moss Cross Memorial Cruise, and then The Moss Cross Memorial Inc charity organisation.

"More than 100 cars turned up for that cruise we held as a charity, and it raised more than $25,000," Miss Redshaw said.

"Back then, we were in a fortunate position where people knew who Joseph was, so they helped him.

"I kept thinking of the people who maybe didn’t have that opportunity of having anyone to help them," she said.

So far, the charity has helped seven families in the Clutha district going through health troubles.

Miss Redshaw said the cruise would be held annually, along other events to raise money.

The committee is made up of rural people who want to work with Miss Redshaw to help keep Mr Cross’ name alive.

"We have a beer festival coming up this Saturday at the South Otago Town and Country Club, which is another event we are hosting under the charity name.

"It will be another hopefully massive event and should raise more money to help people."

She said Mr Cross would be honoured to know his name was still alive and helping people to this day.

"I loved him so much and I feel like life ripped him off so much by taking him so young.

"It feels really special and an honour to give back to others who need the help."