July 11th, 2019
By Robbie Falzon

A 1969 XW Ford Falcon, seven days, 2,420 kilometres and three Richie Benauds is how the Ashley Harris and Variety Children’s Charity is going to make a huge difference.

Charleston father-of-two Ashley Harris was exposed to the work of Variety when a friend’s child was given support in order to fly to the US with his family for a life changing operation.

“I heard what Variety had done for them and that opened my eyes to the generosity and good work that they do,” Ashley said.

Ashley then did some research into the foundation and decided that he wanted to support the charity.

“I’ve got two kids whom I love very much and I recognise the work that Variety does for children and I wanted to help them in any way possible,” he said.

Ashley scoured the state to find a car appropriate for the SA Variety Bash 2019 when he finally found a retired bash car which was owned by Peter Cochrane, a long-time Variety supporter.

He bought the Falcon from Peter and set about doing a restoration of the car.

Ashley is a motor mechanic and owns the Charleston Garage which helped when performing the restoration.

“The car need a fair bit of work when I got it as it was used in Variety bashes in the past,” Ashley said.

Being an avid cricket fan gave him the idea to ask two of his good friends Daniel Simpson and James Cleggett to join him as his crew for the bash dressed as iconic commentator, the late Richie Benaud.

“I always have a laugh when I see all the Richies dressed up at the cricket which gave me the idea to make that our theme for the bash,” Ashley said.

Ashley says that the journey to find sponsors was an eye opening process.

“It is an interesting process trying to find sponsors for the bash,” he said.

“I’ve been overwhelmed with support from those willing to help.”

Ashley conceded that he had been surprised to be knocked back by some groups but understands it is difficult in the current financial climate.

“I have had lots of great people support the cause especially Stirling Variety Meats and the Onkaparinga Lions Club, who have supported us from the start,” he said.

He also has a multitude of thanks to Woodside sign-writing business, Chooks Custom Grafix for donating time and materials to get the car ready with all the stickers.

“Jason has done an amazing job with the stickers, the Richies look awesome as do all our partners – he dedicated a couple of days to our car and it is really appreciated,” Ashley said.

Chris Pfitzner of Stirling Variety Meats is one of Ashley’s main sponsors and he could not be happier to support his mate, Ashley.

“Ashley is a great guy who is supporting a great and worthy cause, we are only too happy to support him and the bash,” Chris said.

The 2019 Variety Bash begins on August 10 from Mawson Lakes and sees all 77 participating vehicles make the trip to Murray Bridge over seven days.

The course take many detours on the way to Murray Bridge passing through Yunta, Arkaroola and Renmark before reaching the end with more than 2,000 kilometres covered.

Last year the foundation raised over $1.7 million all directly going to the charity that help all Australian kids through illness, disability and disadvantage.

You can support Ashley and the ‘Richies’ in car 242 by making a donation or sponsoring the car for the bash.

You can donate to the cause by visiting or you can find out more about the car or sponsorship by calling Ashley on 0412 072 899.

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