Bernard's Blog: 21 Mar 19
Like most people I was shocked and saddened by the act of terrorism in Christchurch last Friday.
While we knew New Zealand had witnessed an horrific and barbaric attack, at the time we left the office on Friday we had no idea of just how many innocent lives had been taken.
Comprehending the numbers killed and the ripple effect their deaths would have on, not only the Christchurch community, but the whole nation has been difficult, and many people will struggle to come to terms with this.
We, as an organisation, have a duty of care to our participants and we take this very seriously. On Monday we circulated to all staff, all racing club managers and to the NZTA, NZJA and NZTBA a document from our Employee Assistance Provider which contained useful information for those who might require support following Friday’s attack.
Anyone within our industry who feels that they might need to speak to someone should also be aware that they are always able to contact our welfare support contacts: Dianna Young (ph: 021 941 085) or via email [email protected] or Andrew McKerrow (ph: 029 771 2398) or via email [email protected]
On Saturday Riccarton Park will host its first race meeting since the tragedy and I am aware that Tim Mills and his team are striving to ensure they honour the victims with dignity.
This will include a gathering of unity in the birdcage, where the more than 14 nationalities which make up the Riccarton racing community, will link arms with others from outside the region in silence.
Last Saturday, when the magnitude of this tragedy was still very raw, we witnessed a touching example of generosity from Rodger and Emily Finlay after their Riccarton-trained filly Emily Margaret won the Norwood Family Wellington Guineas (Gr 2). As Rodger explained to LOVERACING.NZ early this week their initial donation of the winning stake has now grown.
“We have also been contacted by friends who want to add their own contribution, so we should be able to build the donation up towards $100,000,” Rodger said.
“Em and I would like the money to go towards the bricks and mortar of the mosques and we are working with two groups to see if that can happen. If not, the money will go into one of the general funds.”
There will be an official collection taken up at a future race meeting at Riccarton Park but in the meantime if you would like to donate to the official Victim Support fund, go here.