When a bash is fun

THE journey began when children's charity Variety offered St Marys Rugby League Club a 1973 Ford Fairlane for $1.

The club will celebrate its 14-year involvement in the Variety B to B Bash when the annual fund-raising trek to outback towns heads off next month.

This will be club board president Warren Smith's eighth involvement in the B to B Bash.

Fellow board members Ron Coskerie, John Burns and Mick Hilton will join him on the 10-day 4929-kilometre adventure across three states.

Now in its 30th year, the Bash isn't the only one to celebrate a big milestone when the NSW convoy of 350 Bashers and 110 vehicles set out from Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium on August 8.

Mr Smith will turn 75 that day.

"I don't let age get the better of me," he said.

"I've got a few more Bashes in me. It's a great way of seeing the outback and meeting needy kids from the bush. In the eight years I've been doing, we've visited a few hundred towns and schools we wouldn't otherwise see. We enjoy ourselves and have a good time."

The board members drive in a 1966 Valiant these days.

"The Ford Fairlane was breaking down almost every day on the Bash," Mr Smith said.

The club will donate balls and sporting gear to schools visited on the trek, including $20,000 worth of team kits to two schools which will play a rugby league curtain-raiser in the central Queensland town Blackwater.

Mr Smith estimated the club has donated more than $700,000 to Variety in the past 12 years.

"Variety helps a lot of disadvantaged kids in this area, which means some of the money doesn't leave the district."

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