Franki, 8, gets one wheel up on her dad

Unicycle princess geared up for santa parade

BRIDGET RAILTON
Last updated 05:00 13/12/2013
Franki Campbell
BARRY HARCOUT
SHEER DETERMINATION: Eight-year-old Franki Campbell, of Manapouri, ready to ride at tomorrow’s Te Anau Santa Parade. 

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Last Christmas, Manapouri girl Franki Campbell wanted a unicycle so she could be like her dad.

A year on, the determined eight-year-old has surpassed her father's skills - enough to secure a spot in the Te Anau Santa Parade.

The Te Anau schoolgirl said she learned to ride by practising on the tennis court near her house.

Helped by her mother, Angie Campbell, Franki said she mastered the skill in just over two months.

"I basically just practiced every day," she said.

Mrs Campbell said it was down to "sheer determination and eight-year-old stubbornness" that Franki managed the tricky contraption.

"She's a pretty outgoing, have-a-go at anything type of kid. It doesn't surprise me at all."

That outgoing nature led Franki to volunteer to unicycle down the street for this year's Santa Parade, she said.

"She really wanted to go in it so I rang them up and asked, and they were more than happy," she said.

This year, the parade will follow a slightly different route, travelling along Bligh St to Main St then finishing in Mokonui St at Lions Park, rather than using Milford Road.

Santa Parade organiser Leona McCracken said the change was made to simplify the event and save money. "It's a lot more involved to close the Milford Road as it's a state highway."

Eleven floats, entertainment and a pipe band are ready to go in this year's parade, and plenty of rides and activities were arranged for the Christmas fun in the park party later, she said.

The parade starts at 2pm, and they were hoping Santa himself might even make an appearance.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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