The Rotary Club of Knights-Pendragon serves the Edenvale and Bedfordview communities in Gauteng. Although they are far from the coast, they support the NSRI each year with an auction of the Cape’s finest wines. Like an elegant swan, the glittering gala evening setting in the upmarket Balalaika Hotel in Sandton is complimented by piano background music, a 5 Star Dinner and a professional auctioneer whose humour and knowledge teases out excited bids for each prized collection or single bottle.
But… below the waterline of that swan is furious activity; for weeks previously, Rotary Clubs in the peninsular have scoured the wineries that they know so well and have secured donations of exclusive wines that rarely reach the inland wine stores. With mature experience of complimentary wines and auction presentations these emblems of the Cape are allocated into 83 lots and carefully packaged, to be couriered to controlled-climate stores on the Reef.
Meanwhile, telephones ring, cellphones become hot and Emails tap out approaches for donations and prizes and for sales of table tickets and raffles. Parking is planned, menus are digested, decor agreed and even that piano music selected … nothing is left to chance.
Rotarians and wives are allocated duties. They are joined by keen, volunteer members of NSRI from the Vaal Dam, Hartesbeespoort Dam and Germiston Lake; the waterways where Gautengers hold them in such high esteem. At last that ‘swan’ makes its entry.
Much goes on behind the scenes for Rotary to raise the R120 000 and, in this case a grateful inland public, to help keep NSRI saving lives.