Port Augusta rumbled to the sound of a cavalcade of colourful big rigs hitting the streets with dozens of children riding up front as part of Convoy for Kids.
Close to 40 trucks and prime movers assembled at Central Oval on Sunday, September 23 to take excited children living with disabilities on the ride of a lifetime.
Flagged off by Port Augusta’s deputy mayor Phil Greagen, truckies and their precious cargo streamed from the oval in a long line with horns blowing and sirens blaring from the emergency services vehicles taking part.
It was all part of Novita Children’s Services Port Augusta Auxiliary convoy carnival designed as a special treat for local children and their families living with cerebral palsy, acquired brain injury and other special needs.
Months of hard work led by the auxiliary team culminated in a fun-filled ‘Convoy Carnival’ at Central Oval, that started at 10.30 am, with entertainment, face painters, food and drink for the children taking part after they returned from their ride around Port Augusta local streets.
Every child who registered was given a ride up front in the cabin of a big truck through the city streets led by a police patrol car with lights flashing.
Auxiliary president Emily Holden said that the children who took part would never forget it.
“We staged our first Convoy for Kids last year and it was an outstanding success,” Mrs Holden said.
“With the help of the Port Augusta City Council, the police, emergency services, Max Cranes and our sponsors, we were able to put together another fantastic adventure for Novita clients and their families and other members of the community.
“By all accounts, it was Port Augusta’s own Big Day Out, and the kids had a wow of a time.
“To see their excitement and their proud mums and dads just made it all worthwhile.
“That the Port Augusta Auxiliary raised nearly $5000 for Novita was a bonus, but of course that’s the other half of the reason we do this,” Emily said.
Mrs Holden paid tribute to auxiliary patron Mitch Hancock, of Gulf and Ranges Optometrists, the Port Augusta City Council, police and emergency services for their support.
“Without their generosity, we could not have done this,’ she said.
“They offered sponsorship or in-kind support knowing that this would be for a great cause: one that is so important to our community.
“And of course the truckies themselves were the real stars.
“We had at least one company who provided a vehicle which meant sending it up from Adelaide, and another that diverted one from interstate which arrived late Saturday.
“The trucking community have embraced this event as their own and we thank them for it.”
Money raised will be used to fund a variety of programs and projects benefiting Novita clients.
Novita prescribes equipment and technologies such as wheelchairs, walkers and communication devices to help young clients connect with their worlds – at home, at school and in the playground.
Through its broader work with families and communities, Novita has been able to make a real difference in the lives of thousands of South Australians who can look forward with hope to a better quality of life.