Coomera, Queensland, Australia: It was about halfway through his jet ski trek down the Queensland coast of Australia that Riviera electrician Craig Folker realised just how much of a difference Variety the children’s charity makes in the lives of people in need.
Craig met one particular family that had hit extremely hard times – two small children whose Mum had been taken from them way too soon, and whose Dad spent his life savings helping his second wife battle breast cancer.
“It was a heart-breaking story – and those kids were left with very little so it was touching to see the appreciation they felt towards Variety, and the support the children’s charity gives to people when they need it most,” said Craig.
Of course, that was just one of many endearing encounters Craig had with the beneficiaries of Variety, which had organised the 2015 Yamaha Jet Trek from Australia’s Great Keppel Island to the Queensland capital of Brisbane or, more accurately, even further south … where it ended on the Gold Coast.
Variety had organised for participants to meet Variety beneficiaries each night along the way.
“While it’s also a great experience and a lot of fun, there is a serious side to it all and it was incredibly rewarding to in some small way have been able to assist such a worthy cause,” said Craig, based at Riviera’s world-class facility at Coomera.
He certainly had plenty of time to ponder the significance of the charity’s work – the journey was over 800 kilometres and took a total of six days, with some 62 jet skis taking part. Craig’s three-seater F12X was the only Honda on the trip … but of course the main aim was to support Variety and its work.
“I had followed the Yamaha Variety Jet Trek for a few years and always thought it would be great to support and take part, so this year I raised the entry fee and managed to convince Hamish, a friend from Hervey Bay, to grab his ski and come with me,” said Craig.
“The scrutineers checked everything when we arrived to ensure safety, and we had a first-timers briefing on the Sunday night as well – there were 18 newbies all up – and we were split into five groups so we could look after each other … and we were off first thing Monday morning,” he said.
Although he’s not really known for sitting down on the job, there was much talk in the lead-up to the trek about sore backsides due to the long distances involved … but Craig said that was not an issue.
“We were travelling that fast that we didn’t really sit down at any stage,” he says. “I guess we were averaging 70-80 kilometres an hour most of the way, refueling while we ate lunch.”
Of course such a trip could not be undertaken without a support crew, and Craig thanked his parents, Marshall and Narelle, for their assistance. “Dad and Mum also got to meet the people who will be helped by Variety and they certainly have my thanks for helping me support such a worthy cause,” said Craig.
If you would like more information on the Variety Jet Trek, please click here >>