Graham Meyer tops $150,000 mark for disadvantaged kids

Amazing achievement: For 23 years Tamworth's Graham Meyer has done the Variety Bash, personally rasing over $150,000 for disadvantaged children in his EK Holden. Photo: Gareth Gardner
Amazing achievement: For 23 years Tamworth's Graham Meyer has done the Variety Bash, personally rasing over $150,000 for disadvantaged children in his EK Holden. Photo: Gareth Gardner

If you don’t know Graham Meyer, you would almost certainly know his car.

It is the yellow 1961 EK Holden with the Australian flag flying, the anti-dust air compressor on the roof and enough stickers on the panels to sink a ship.

Mr Meyer loves bashing for disadvantaged children, recently completing his 23rd straight Variety NSW Bash, which not only saw him personally soar past the $150,000 raised mark, but also drop in to several local schools including Nundle and Narrabri.

The Variety Bash started when Dick Smith asked a few mates to “go for a drive in the bush” to raise funds for charity, although these days that group of friends has turned into over 100 vehicles, who annually raise over $1 million dollars for kids in need.

“Until I actually went and did one I didn’t know it could be so fulfilling,” Mr Meyers said.

“Doing those presentations to special needs and disadvantaged children is incredible, and it is hard to keep a dry eye when you see exactly where that money goes and what gets done for these kids.” 

It is also about having a great time with a bunch of like minded people, who hit the road in pairs for seven days every year, taking a different route but always starting and ending in Newcastle.

Graham’s brother Gary Meyer was one of the inaugural Bashers in 1995, before inviting his brother in on the action a few years after.

For ten years Graham went as a passenger in Bluey Keevers’ FB Holden ute, before borrowing a 1946 Ford V8 for a few years until he found his EK Holden.

“I am actually a real Ford man, although my grandmother had an EK, so there is a bit of nostalgia there,” he said.

“My wife Marie supports me one thousand per cent, and when she did the Bash in 2013 she said it was one of the greatest adventures that can be had- and it is.”

“There are so many different people of different temperaments and different natures, but we all have that common aim that keeps us together – rasing that money for disadvantaged children.” 

In order to enter the Variety Bash you have to have a car older than 30 years, and have raised over $4000 for the cause.

All aboard: Graham Meyers was personally mentioned for his great charity work after Peel High was granted a $70,000 Variety Sunshine Coach for the special needs class. Photo: Gareth Gardner

All aboard: Graham Meyers was personally mentioned for his great charity work after Peel High was granted a $70,000 Variety Sunshine Coach for the special needs class. Photo: Gareth Gardner

On average Mr Meyer draws in the vicinity of $6500 out of the “fantastic local sponsors and local community”, and was proudly crowned the winner in 2002 after raising what was back then an astounding $15,000.

All of that money goes to the charity, and gets spent locally, with the drivers and their partners chipping in over $1000 each out of their own pockets each year for fuel, food and accommodation along the way.

“It was so good to see that bus go to Peel High, it will really make a difference to those kids,” he said.

He was also responsible, alongside Alan Martin and Dave Clare for raising $20,000 to renovate the infamous White Scout Car that rolls down Peel Street every Anzac Day.

While he loves the Bash and look forward to it every year Mr Meyer’s days on the road are numbered, with his sights set on just two more so he can reach the magic 25, and match his brother.

“There are a number of good young blokes coming through, and it is getting harder and harder every year to raise the funds so it might be time to step aside,” he said.

“It has been really great and I will miss it, and the reaction on the kids’ faces.” 

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