South Coast Hospice was the big winner at the annual Night at the Races held at Greyville Racecourse on Friday.
This year, 135 guests attended the fund-raising event in The Classic Room, situated on the second floor of the main building, right opposite the finish post. The weather was perfect, with the wind blowing the horses to the finish post.
South Coast Hospice was represented by Darryl and BT King, Shamila Clothier and her sister Charmaine, who enjoyed her first visit to the races.
The Port Shepstone-based Hospice was also able to take two staff members, Patricia Magubane, who is part of the Mobile Clinic, and an enrolled nurse, Patricia Cabe, from the Inpatient Unit, to attend the races for the first time.
“What excitement it was to experience this event through brand new eyes. As we arrived, horses were being offloaded from their trucks, and they neighed. The ladies were very impressed by this welcome,” said BT King, South Coast Hospice’s fundraiser.
“It was a very successful evening,” King continued.
“The beauty of this event is that we have our own private betting facility with a staff member who is able to take your bets at your table. Guests also have the option to brave the weather and watch the race from the stands outside The Classic Room area.
“I received a ‘hot’ tip for the first race, and not being a betting person, I trusted the bet and told everyone to put a bet on the horse. What excitement when the two Patricias had made their first bet and were able to go and fetch their winnings.
“Our guests had an opportunity to be taken down to the horse-viewing arena where the horses parade before the race.
“Patricia [Magubane] commandeered jockey De Melo and had a selfie taken. His words to her were, ‘Put a bet on me and my horse Ronnie Rocket.’
“Well I think she did, because she insisted on staying till the last race, and YES, he and his horse won. I am happy that she has a lifelong memento of her first race experience.
“A well prepared buffet was presented and served by Chef Anthony and his team, with Bobby and his team of waiters attending to our needs and drinks. We also had a competition which was won by a guest of Tradelink, and four lucky draw prizes were handed out.
“Thanks to Precious Mbatha from Greyville for all her help with the organising of this event, Ellaine Phillipson, for her assistance by email with getting the sponsors on board, Sebastian from Greyville for treating the two Patricias to a wonderful experience in the arena, all the supporters who attended this event, and last but not least, Greyville Racecourse and Gold Circle for allowing us to have another wonderful fund-raising event at their venue.”
The success of the evening inspired King to do a background check on this long-standing fundraiser.
“This fund-raising event was started by the late Mr Brian and Mrs Janice Bevin. Brian was the then-National Marketing Executive of the Spar Group in Durban,” explained King.
“Janice’s parents who lived in Umtentweni, had been taken care of by South Coast Hospice staff, and in her thanks to South Coast Hospice for the service her parents received, she asked Brian to please allow her to organise a fundraiser to support South Coast Hospice.
“Janice then organised a day race at the then-Clairwood Race Course, with Spar KZN being the main sponsor. To our knowledge, this was in 2000. The various Spar retailers were invited, together with suppliers and friends.
“The races were sponsored and they were able to book and bring staff and friends to the racecourse and enjoy a buffet meal and watch the day’s races. All funds generated were donated to South Coast Hospice.
“When Janice was not able to continue with the organising of this event, she handed the reins over to Ellaine Phillipson, whose husband had become the National Marketing Executive of the Spar Group. I had the privilege to attend two race days at the Clairwood Race Course before it closed down.
“Ellaine took the event and grew it until Clairwood Race Course was sold and Gold Circle allowed us to move our event to the Greyville Racecourse. However, it had to be converted to a night race due to Grevville’s busy calendar.
“When Ellaine’s husband was promoted and transferred to Switzerland two years ago, she still organised the 2017 race. However, due to her being away and work commitments, I took over the organisation of the 2018 race day. KZN Spar has been the major sponsor throughout the years of this event, and we express our grateful thanks to them for their ongoing support.
“Thanks to all the Spar offices, suppliers and retailers, the other long-standing supporters Tradelink, Patton Agencies and all the past sponsors who supported the event over the years.”