Children recipients of charity

Sheets, tulle and army fatigues were the new merino at the Heart Stopper Challenge at Stadium 2000 on Saturday, when 30 teams jumped in icy water for charity.

The five minute plunge in nine degree water was to raise funds for Marlborough @Heart, who support families with children with congenital heart disease.

Marlborough @Heart co-ordinator Bronwyn Cooke said yesterday although two of the teams chickened out on the day, the support was fantastic.

More than $15,000 has been raised so far but money is still being counted, she said.

"On Friday, 32 teams took part in the Auckland Heart Stopper Challenge, [that] just showing the spirit of the Marlborough community.

"I'm stoked with the turnout and support, it was a lot of fun and we've already got people keen to return for next year."

Eighteen-month-old Ali Thorstensen was born with four things wrong with his heart, which was not picked up until he was 5 months old.

His father Dylan Thorstensen was in the Dad's Army team and said Ali had open heart surgery when he was 6 months old and may need another operation later this year.

Ali's mother Kelly Ann Thorstensen, a teacher at Renwick School, was in the Ali's Angels team and challenged friends, family and colleagues to take part in the event.

Beauty with the Beast were decked out in fake ears and beards, but team member Renwick School principal Simon Heath was not sure how effective they would be against the cold.

"They remain untested at this stage, I'm not holding much faith in them, we'll know shortly I guess."

Teacher Jeanette Lammas has a 19-month-old grandson who was born with a large hole in his heart and problems with a heart valve. It was a year on Friday since he had open heart surgery at Starship Hospital in Auckland, she said.

"He is now a happy and healthy little boy, you wouldn't know it," she said.

"The work @Heart does for families is incredible and the surgeons and the network at Starship is amazing.

"It is really important the community know what a great job everyone does."

The Marlborough Express