Harold the Giraffe needs help to make mammoth trek to children

Marlborough's Life Education Trust needs help to get Harold the Little Giraffe and his handler Genevieve McDonald on the ...

Marlborough's Life Education Trust needs help to get Harold the Little Giraffe and his handler Genevieve McDonald on the road.

His long neck, big eyelashes and smart red neckerchief are a much-loved sight among children in Marlborough.

Harold the Giraffe is the mascot of Marlborough's Life Education Trust which takes its mobile classroom to thousands of children across the region every year.

But a shortfall in funding could see some children outside Blenheim miss out completely following escalating travel costs.

A scheduled visit to five Kaikoura schools is in jeopardy if the trust cannot find $6635 to fund the three-week trip.

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And with the deadline looming, staff at the Blenheim-based trust are appealing for "good Samaritans" to help out financially to make sure the children do not miss out.

Educator Genevieve McDonald says the children would greatly benefit from a visit by Harold and the team, which is scheduled to take place towards the end of April.

"So many organisations have already donated to Kaikoura in various forms but it would be such a shame to have to withdraw for this reason.

"Harold and his messages on resilience and care would be particularly helpful at this time and as a trust we would really like to be able to take the mobile classroom there as planned.

"Little Harold is also going and the children just love him. He's the star of the show."

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Life Education is a charitable trust which delivers a health programme to children in preschool, primary and intermediate schools.

In 2010, the service was extended to the Hurunui region and Harold made regular visits to Kaikoura.

Following the 7.8-magnitude earthquake last year the trust has to find funds to pay for extra fuel costs and for driver accommodation both there and back. 

What was once a 90-minute journey on State Highway 1 is now closer to six hours, spanning 450 kilometres along the alternative inland route.

Since is was established in 2006, Harold and his mobile home have visited about 99 per cent of all primary and intermediate schools in Marlborough.

"The additional cost of taking the mobile classroom the long way round means considerable extra costs as a result of the road closure, including paying for a night's accommodation for the truck driver as it can no longer be done in one trip.

For further information visit lifeeducation.org.nz

 - The Marlborough Express


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