When cancer took the life of Hunua Volunteer Rural Fire Force chairman Dave Wrigley it sent shockwaves through the community.
Those close to him at the fire brigade hold huge admiration for the once senior fire officer and because of that one of their own is taking part in an inaugural charity motorcycle motorcade travelling the country.
Organised by Balmoral-based senior firefighter Rob Appleton, the Firefighters Ride for Cancer will travel the country from Invercargill to Whangarei, making a special stop in Hunua thanks to the efforts of Gary Richmond.
Mr Richmond is taking on the ride to raise money and awareness for the Cancer Society in honour of Mr Wrigley.
"For me it's also about my wife who lost her best friend as well in the past year so it's for all those reasons," Mr Richmond says.
The journey starts on November 27, making its way up the country before finishing on December 1.
"I'm a bit apprehensive about it because I'm an old bastard and it's a long way but I'm looking forward to going around all the other fire stations," Mr Richmond says.
Since he decided to join the motorcade the route has been altered so Hunua can be a part of the action.
Hunua School is also getting involved with the fundraising charity ride as well, putting on a sausage sizzle.
"The whole school is getting behind it on the day we are here so it's cool," Mr Richmond says.
"We will be here on November 30 around 2pm hopefully," he says.
So far Mr Richmond has raised close to $600 for the cause with one donor joking that he would be given the money if he was to ride 100km wearing a bra. Mr Richmond's original target of $250 has been surpassed but he is still searching for more donations from the public.
At the end of last week the total money raised was more than $11,000 via the Ride for Cancer website.
Visit rideforcancer.org.nz/gary-richmond to donate or for more information.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Are our classrooms becoming overcrowded?