Building castles in sand for charity

Hundreds of people descended on Hout Bay beach for the sandcastle competition.

Hundreds of people descended on Hout Bay beach for the 2017 Valley Pre-Primary Sandcastle competition on Saturday.
This year’s competition proved an enormous success, with an estimated R140 000 raised.

The money will be used to provide educational bursaries to enable children from Hout Bay’s less privileged communities to attend the school and to fund therapeutic interventions such as language enrichment, play therapy, occupational therapy or physiotherapy when required to assist learning.

Parents and children flocked to Hout Bay beach to enjoy a day of competition, jumping castles, food stalls and music.
According to co-ordinator Gareth Lowndes, officiating in his final event, a new record of 18 was set for teams falling under Valley Pre-Primary’s Sonwabile Bursary Fund, while a large number of corporate entries were also received.

“In the past four years, we have raised some R500 000 from the sandcastle competition. When we started in 1996 it was a real ‘ma and pa’ event, but it has grown to become a really slick operation,” he said.

“We also added a new element this year in the form of Hungarian sand sculpture artist Gyula Bagyari, whom we gave a platform to make his brilliant sculptures. It was hoped these would inspire our competitors.”

A number of high-profile personalities agreed to judge this year’s event, including South African supermodel and Hout Bay resident Josie Borain, philanthropist and shark-spotter Greg Bertish, TV personality Melanie Rice-Dalling andMember of Parliament James Vos.

They were joined by former Valley teacher Editha “Deets” Wilson, popular restaurateur Spiro Ragavelas, Hout Bay Handiman’s Charlie van Rensburg, composer and producer Cedric Sampson and teacher Kay Shapiro.

Mr Vos said annual events such as the sandcastle competition definitely put Hout Bay “on the map”.

“You can see how this event brings everyone together, and it is precisely the kind of thing we should see throughout South Africa,” he said.

“Tourism is not only about the activities on offer, but seeing a community come together to do something for their fellow residents. It puts something back into the community.”

He said just as events like the Mitchell’s Plain Festival had grown from small beginnings, so the sandcastle competition had the potential to be a main feature on the Cape Town calendar. “We talk about the ‘Cape of Great Events’ in Cape Town, and this event is certainly part of that,” he said.