WELCOME GIFTS: Project Vietnam's Ian Bath with Janice Miller, Kirbi Roi, Brian Clancy and John Miller.
WELCOME GIFTS: Project Vietnam's Ian Bath with Janice Miller, Kirbi Roi, Brian Clancy and John Miller. Peter Gardiner

Help never wears thin here at Ironman central

LONG after so many of the Noosa Triathlon Ironman athletes have put in big time, some of their sporting investment keeps on giving.

And that goes for so much of the left over gear that for whatever reason, is not claimed by the thousands of entrants in Noosa and many more from Ironman events in Australia.

Entry buys a lot of branded kit and for Brian Clancy the Ironman logistics manager who began working years ago with Noosa's late great Garth Prowd, none of it needs to go to waste.

Instead Brian and his team at the Noosaville Ironman storage area looks to worth charity groups like Project Vietnam to donate these trendy t-shirts and sports singlets to the overseas villagers they help out.

"We have a lot of branded stuff that we is left over and we don't use it or give it away in Australia,” Brian said.

"Our parent company is very happy for us to not to bin it.

"It's much better than throwing it away.”

They are going through their stock at the moment to see what they can re-purpose and have found someone who can put their corflute signage to good use while the mesh signs will be going to help make the local Boomerang Bags that are an alternative to plastic.

"We just give it to them and they have half of their material supplied,” he said.

Brian said plenty of excess bike pumps left behind often ended up in African villages to go with gifts of bikes .

Noosa-based Vietnam vet Ian Bath is delighted to be able to box up whatever excess gear Ironman comes across for Project Vietnam and estimates in recent years that's more than 500 items of clothing.

This time they are taking over lots of excess Cairns Ironman gear with the help of athlete services manager Kirbi Roi and on Friday Ian presented Brian with a Project Vietnam framed certificate of appreciation.

He said these items had a real impact.

"The kids, they're over the moon. I remember one year I was up in the highlands of Vietnam and I gave out some shirts and this girl was so excited,” Ian said.

"She was jumping for joy.”

Ian said he came back from his Vietnam tour of duty in 1966 and never went back as a tourist until 2000.

"A friend of mine who I bought a house off was involved in Project Vietnam.

"So I thought, bugger it, I'll go over and that was in 2003 and I've been involved ever since.”

On February 28 he said the latest batch of Project Vietnam volunteers were headed over there.

"There are 28 on the team from all walks of life - some are retired some are painters, plumbers some are builders,” Ian said.

"I've got members coming from WA - I have three coming from Tasmania, a few on the Coast because that' s where our roots are. What we've got on the go at the moment, is we're building a brand new kindergarten 400km south of Hanoi and 30km inland.”

Local volunteers John and Janice Miller have been over to Vietnam as part of the Project and said "it's wonderful over there - they're very deserving in these poorer areas”.

Ian said they were always looking for fresh helpers. To help, contact www.projectvietnam.com.


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