Top chef helps with school van

BASEBALL AND BOOKS: Reading aide volunteer Leigh Barachet has enlisted the help of top chef Simon Gault, below, to get the baseball team at Te Kura O Otangarei up and running.
BASEBALL AND BOOKS: Reading aide volunteer Leigh Barachet has enlisted the help of top chef Simon Gault, below, to get the baseball team at Te Kura O Otangarei up and running.

Masterchef judge and restaurateur Simon Gault is throwing his weight behind a plan to get kids in one of Northland's poorer suburbs out playing baseball.

He'll be in town on April 11 to host a canapes-and-bubbles fundraising evening in support of Te Kura O Otangarei, a Whangarei a primary school where all of the 132 students are of Maori descent.

Gault's visit is being organised by Leigh Barachet who says the school is in desperate need of a van for its sports teams and other outings.

Barachet has been volunteering as a reading aide at the Otangarei based school since last year and is also the brains behind a new lunchtime baseball initiative that she says the kids have embraced.

She wants to get a proper team started but says the school is not able to travel to games elsewhere because it has limited transport options.

So she's launched a fundraising drive and enlisted Gault, who worked with her brother for 15 years, to help.

 "He understands the plight and knows it's not a fair deal out there," she says.

Gault will be bringing his support crew and the evening will revolve around a cooking demonstration at the NorthTec tertiary campus in Whangarei.

"The young students at NorthTec will be preparing food, with Simon critiquing their work and talking to them," Barachet says.

PROMISING TALENT: Children at Te Kura O Otangarei have embraced baseball and many show a natural ability.
PROMISING TALENT: Children at Te Kura O Otangarei have embraced baseball and many show a natural ability.

"The general good rub-off all round for our youth who are involved is inspirational." 

Tickets for the evening are $100 including food and drink, and are available directly from the school.

Call 437 0623 for tickets.

Whangarei Leader