Coming up to his 25th Variety Bash, Colin Hann spins a good yarn about the $40-million charity.
The cavalcade of crazy cars travels the back roads of South Australia every year like a “Pied Piper”, giving out thousands of dollars in grants to schools, the disabled and needy children.
Mr Hann, 70, also known as the publican at the Clare Hotel, recites locations such as Booborowie Primary School which received almost $80,000 “on the way past” and Operation Flinders which gained $105,500.
He has been driving his 1967 Ford Falcon in the event and has covered a million kilometres. The car is on its second motor and had only minor panel damage after hitting a deer near Naracoorte last year.
“If it had been a modern car, it would not have gone on,” he said,
But age is catching up with Mr Hann who says the road trip starting this weekend will probably be his last.
“Last year, the Bash distributed $3.58 million in grants to 33,604 children in South Australia – beautiful,” he said.
“It is the greatest charity in Australia and the world. Many people believe that. It is because the money goes to the charity and the underprivileged and disabled kiddies.
“We have raised $40 million in SA in the past 30 years. It is an international charity that started in America when a baby was left on the doorstep of the Variety headquarters. The child was raised by Variety.”
Down Under in SA, the cars travel their 2600-kilometre circuit and stop at various places to give out lollies, balloons, books and rulers to children.
You cannot miss Mr Hann’s red-and-white Ford with the crew including Neville Gilbert, Nick Piggot and Nedd Golding decked out as country boys with their cowboy hats.
“It is not a race … we go out to enjoy the countryside. There are plenty of challenges with rocks and deep sand,” he said.
Mr Hann will receive a 25th commemoration certificate from organisers when the event finishes in Port Lincoln.
SA Variety Bash celebrates 30 years this year and kicks off on its original route this Saturday, August 11 from Adelaide.