10 May 2019
Andrew Peter McCleary, or as he was more commonly known and loved by most as “Possum”, was again remembered at Pourerere Beach at the annual Possum Day Out fishing competition, a three day event which started on Thursday 21 February.
What started as a get together for family and friends to remember a son, brother, uncle and friend six years ago has turned into an annual event to remember Possum, and raise much needed funds to support the local Hawke’s Bay branch of Cystic Fibrosis New Zealand.
The first get together was at Lake Waikaremoana and the fishing was suggested as a means to get everyone together. The second year we moved back locally to Pourerere Beach on the East Coast where Possum spent many summers at the family caravan.
Over the years, numbers for the event have increased and sponsors have come on board, supplying prizes. This year we had the privilege of having Senator Boats and HB Marine as sponsors to support this event raising $1,500 for the local branch.
While we fish for three days, the original concept of our get together was to enjoy each other’s company and remember Poss.
Two years ago, we were presented with a Greenstone carved by Geoff Hosking, a friend of the group as a prize. We thought long and hard about how we would present this, and decided that we would use it as a gift to a member of the group, who over the years had shown great loyalty and support to not only Poss, but also everyone who knew him and supports other from within the wider group of friends. Bernie Fleming was our first recipient of this award.
This year saw Jason Jensen win this coveted prize for his support of his partner Rachel who last year donated a kidney to another friend of the group. Rachel was to donate a kidney to Possum days before his passing and decided to still go ahead with a donation. Unbeknown to her it was to end up in a local Waipawa boy, who we all knew and grew up with. Jason’s support throughout this whole process was a true testament to his character, and the friendship held within the group.
This year we had the privilege to have John Parsons attend the prize giving, John being a long-time member of the Hawke’s Bay branch was overwhelmed with the support that this event now generates.
Everyone is welcome to attend, with most freedom camping, or renting local holiday homes to make a great few days of remembrance and friendship. We would love to see as many people as possible again next year to support this worthwhile cause.
The next event will be held on or around 20 – 23 February 2020 and you keep updated on the Possum Day Out Facebook page.
– Tiger McCleary