Helderberg Animal Rescue Team (HART) is holding a fundraising event on Saturday February 12, from 5pm to 10pm, at the Stellenbosch Flying Club.
Paul Martin, who shares a love of animals alongside girlfriend Virgilia (Gill) Huijnen, gave Bolander some background on the HART’s need to raise funds to help the many animals in need that they encounter on a daily basis.
“This is a group of normal everyday people, who give of their time and resources by taking puppies and kittens (and sometimes the parents) into their homes and fostering them, while they receive medical care they might need, until their forever family is found.
“We hold regular adoption days, generally on Saturdays at the Scout Hall on Lourensford Road in Somerset West. It’s difficult to accommodate them all, but everybody pitches in, sharing the needs through social media, and then seeing what they can do.”
HART works tirelessly, trying to save animals from being put to sleep for lack of a home.
“There is a lack of awareness of the needs of animals in the more underprivileged areas, and HART regularly goes into townships and neighbourhoods, and has a number of volunteers and vets, who do spay days, dipping, treating mange etc.
“All is done for the love of animals. We get to know and love them all, and re-home them, and then take in new animals,” says Paul.
All of this care takes money, and HART is a non-profit organisation. “Funding comes from donations, at least 90%, and Louise Spagnuola, who heads up the organisation, is an angel,” he says.
“People often call in to report seeing animals on the side of the road, but don’t take it any further, or stop to actually help the animals.
“Louise will drop everything, and race over in her bakkie to pick up the animals in distress. She works tirelessly, and does a lot to galvanise local business to contribute and donate,” adds Paul.
“The going vet bill at any time is between R60 000 and R80 000, you can imagine the pressure. And we need to pay these service providers.
“This fundraiser is going to wonderful. I’m part of the four-piece band, Phoenix Rising (an old 70s rock and rollers) – we play Cliff Richard, Fats Domino, The Beatles, Elvis and Van Morison, and all the old favourites.
“We’ve arranged this shindig at an aircraft hanger at the Stellenbosch Airfield, and they’ve very graciously donated it a reduced price, and I’m picking up the tab for the band performing.”
There will be pizza (eat as much as you’d like), a cash bar inside the hangar, and an auction (including a weekend at Crystal Beach in Gordon’s Bay), and prizes will be given out for the best dressed couple and best dance couple.
Tickets cost R200, and are available on WhatsApp from Gill at 082 298 3656, or Paul at 074 078 5731.
* I’ve followed the work done by HART over the years, and can attest to their amazing work and availability by Louise to respond to any calls reporting lost or found animals.
Additionally, Paul is also a good friend, and a wonderful musician, and Phoenix Rising is a brilliant band – I’ve seen them perform live on a number of occasions, and they check all the boxes.