Chevrolet Ute Force and Lighthouse Run bring Christmas to Missionvale

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The Lighthouse Run, which is supported by Chevrolet , descended on Port Elizabeth today and delivered an early Christmas to the children at the Missionvale Care Centre.

The run comprises four women athletes running over 1 600 km along South Africa’s coast, from Umhlanga Rocks in KwaZulu-Natal to Paternoster in the Western Cape over a period of six weeks to raise awareness regarding women and child abuse. The initiative also aims to raise R1-million to assist victims of abuse.

“Since setting out on 17 November we have covered 939 km over 19 days, and touched 19 lighthouses,” stated Retha Schutte, who came up with the concept and leads the Lighthouse Run.

“Our key aim is to shed light on abuse and, along with the four runners, we have a community service team that provides logistical support and assists the communities along the way.”

The team is also supported by the Chevrolet Ute Force, a team of skilled experts that travel around South Africa in specially branded “Ute Force” Chevrolet Utility bakkies completing extraordinary missions for needy communities. For the Lighthouse Run, the Ute Force sponsors the fuel, accommodation, logistical and marketing support, and the vehicles carry the team’s supplies.

The Lighthouse Run crew enjoyed a welcome rest day in the Friendly City mid-way through their journey, and used the opportunity to bring Christmas cheer to 90 pre-school and primary school children at the Missionvale Care Centre. This exceptional facility was founded and is run by Sister Ethel Normoyle. Along with the privately run school, it provides a wide range of support to the residents of the impoverished Missionvale community.

Chevrolet sponsored a wide range of entertainment for the kids for the day, including an enthralling magic show, clowns, jumping castles and face-painting, and each child was given a much-appreciated Christmas gift and party pack.

“We’re extremely grateful to Chevrolet and the whole Lighthouse Run team,” Sister Ethel said. “There are many different forms of abuse, and we see so much of it in Missionvale. This project will certainly bring healing and love to those who need it most. You’ve also brought so much joy to our children with this very special Christmas party.”

According to Herman Schutte, who is an emotional intelligence and conflict management specialist on the Lighthouse Run, this is just phase one of the project, which aims to create awareness around the Lighthouse Run brand, and the issues of women and child abuse.

“Phase two takes it to the next level in 2013, and is based on three pillars, comprising logistical, legal and psychological support for victims of abuse,” he said.

“We are creating a network of safe homes, attorneys and therapists in each of the major centres around the country to ensure that these three primary needs of victims of abuse are covered.”

The Lighthouse Run is raising funds through donations, sponsorships, an SMS line and the sale of Lighthouse Run memorabilia – the latter including a book that will be published after this year’s run, documenting the remarkable journey that comprises 42 days and 42 lighthouses.

“The support we have received through mainstream media and the various social media platforms has been exceptional,” commented Retha Schutte. “We would like to get more people and actual runners involved and joining us during the second part of our run, and welcome any donations, big or small, for this worthy cause.”

A wide range of information is available on the Lighthouse Run, and can be accessed through the following channels:

  • Ute Force website: uteforce.co.za
  • Lighthouse Run blog: lighthouserun.co.za
  • Facebook page: facebook.com/pages/LighthouseRun
  • Twitter channel: @LighthouseRun

- SMS donations: SMS “ABUSE” to 49040 to donate R15

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