Inglewood backs Variety Bash

Published on 20 November 2017

Inglewood has raised $6,900 towards the annual Variety Bash, sponsoring local James Clee and his team who took part in the event last month.

Mr Clee was joined by his teammates including wife Patricia Clee, Mark McEwan and Peter Evans. Seventy-five cars took part in the event, which saw entrants travel from Port Macquarie before arriving at Toowoomba seven days later. The bash stopped at a number of towns along the way including Walcha, Armidale, Grafton, Tweed Heads, Ipswich, Gympie, Kingroy and more.

“Our team was called the Escapades, and we were joined by a fantastic group of people from Deniliquin,” Mr Clee said.

“We had four cars in the group between us, and raised $39,000.”

The funds raised by the group went towards the total for this year’s Variety Bash of $2.4 million. The funds go towards the children’s charity Variety, which each year supports thousands of children who are sick, disadvantaged or have special needs.

This is the second year Mr Clee has taken part in the event. He joined last year’s Variety Bash after a friend explained to him about how the event worked and what was involved.

This year, however, was the first time Mr Clee and his team had a local car in the Variety Bash, a VN Commodore named Bluey (after Inglewood’s Eucalyptus Distillery Centre – AKA the Blue Eucy Museum).

Also coming along for the ride was the Blue Eucy Museum’s mascot Bluey.

“Bluey came with us and went to all the towns and the events, including school visits, as part of the Variety Bash,” Mr Clee said. 

“He actually ended up being “kidnapped” at one point during the trip, so we had to pay a ransom to get him back – which all went towards the fundraising efforts.”

Unfortunately Bluey the car didn’t quite make it to the finish line.

“We broke down 10 kilometres from the last stop,” Mr Clee said.

“After doing 2800 kilometres on dirt roads, we actually ended up cooking the engine due to all the mud from the roads, and had to be towed in.”

Bluey the car was stripped for parts and ended up at the wreckers, however this hasn’t stopped the Escapades from plans to compete in next year’s Variety Bash.

“We’ve already got a new vehicle that we’re starting to build now,” Mr Clee said. “He’s called Son of Bluey.”

Mr Clee thanked the Inglewood community for their generosity in helping raise funds for Variety.

“The support from the Inglewood community was incredible. Virtually the whole town supported us.

“It was just announced that we were taking part in the Variety Bash and the community all volunteered to support us.

“The Inglewood Cricket Club has already raised $900 towards next year’s event and we’re looking forward to having locals support us again, and raise funds for Variety.”