Bashing around Australia for kids in need

  • August 17, 2023

For more than 30 years, Andrew Snelling has been part the truly unique and ever-exciting Variety Bash experience – whether building cars, fixing vehicles, traversing the Australian countryside or raising much-needed funds and awareness.

As drivers from all across the country take on the homestretch of this year’s Variety B to B Bash, we sat down with one of the events most dedicated participants to learn more about the Bash, how it helps children and their families, and the power of giving back to the community.

  • Q: You’ve been fundraising for Variety for a number of decades now – how did your relationship with the organisation first start?

    A: “I first got involved with Variety in 1989 when I was asked to build a car for the Bash. A year later, I built a car with my father and we entered our first bash in 1990. Initially, I joined to experience driving on dirt roads and traveling across Australia – but that quickly changed when I saw the faces of the kids we help along the way. You see a little girl get her first wheelchair, and the excitement on her face, and the purpose behind everything suddenly changes. We are low-key entrants. We built the car ourselves and raised all the money to participate. It was a lot of work – many nights spent outside working on the car in the rain. The car itself needed a lot of work. It had been inside a chicken coop for years. That same car has now done about 15 bashes and has been to every corner of Australia and most corners twice. From Perth to Ayers Rock, Tassie, Cape York and beyond.”

  • Q: Was there a personal connection at all for your involvement?

    “There was a time probably in the mid 90s – my father’s cousin had a baby that was born very premature and there were only two full life support systems in Australia at the time. The mother and child were flown down to Westmead Children’s Hospital from Coffs Harbour and when dad was allowed to visit, he noticed the whole system keeping her alive and well had been donated by Variety. All the hard work that we do to be part of the Bash, that’s where the money goes. It’s just so rewarding when you see the people that the fundraising helps.”

  • Q: Do you have a most-memorable Bash moment?

    A: “The Bash that stands out the most is the one where we had the most car trouble (laughs). I had two brothers in the car that couldn’t drive a manual very well they broke the differential and gearbox. We were towed 487km into Broken Hill with an 8-foot steel bar on narrow, dirt roads.”

  • Q: What’s the best part about being involved in the Bash each year?

    A: “There are so many. It really is for such a wonderful cause. It’s touching and it’s wonderful to know you’re a part of something so special. You go on the Bash each year and each time you consider yourself lucky. I’ve been to every remote corner of Australia. I’ve had a great time and made so many memories. I got to see the billabong where Banjo Paterson wrote “Once a jolly swagman”… You see so many absolutely iconic places all over Australia and it’s all for such a good cause. I’ve driven the Nullarbor Plain three or four times. Every Australian should do that at least once. What’s great, is the Bash brings together like-minded people who are all committed to raising money for a good cause.”

  • Q: Do you have other fond memories of your time with Variety?

    A: “The Variety Christmas party is great. They have kids from throughout the state attend and they all come down to Sydney for a day. There’s face painting, pony rides, merry go round and more all these entertainers donate their time. Everyone’s got a smile on their faces when they leave. It’s very special. I was at a Variety event in Newcastle one year and met a lady at our table called Fairy Sparkle. She looked like a Disney Princess. She was probably in her 50s. She told us how when there are kids in hospital and their parents have been told that their children won’t make it through the night for the second or third time, and those parents can’t sit by their child anymore, this lady goes to the hospital and sits by the children… To be able to do something like that. It takes a very special person. Variety is full of those special people” all doing their own part .

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