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NZME identity set to fall from sky
Bay of Plenty Times, Tauranga Bay of Plenty  by Ruth Keber
31 Mar 2017
General News - page 8 - 480 words - ID 749752259 - Photo: Yes - Type: News Item - Size: 427.00cm2

CITY business leaders are going to be pushed out of a plane to help raise money and awareness for the Graeme Dingle Foundation.

Bay of Plenty NZME head of news Sonya Bateson and Comvita deputy chairman Alan Bougen are among the bosses who will tandem skydive from 10,000 feet (3048m) above Tauranga in the next few weeks.

Every year the Graeme Dingle Foundation runs Drop Your Boss, where bosses from across the country abseil down highrise buildings and now jump from planes to help raise money for the foundation.

Across the Western Bay of Plenty the foundation reached 3000 children through Kiwi Can, Project K and their Stars programme.

Graeme Dingle Foundation regional manager Dan AllenGordon said the bosses were being pushed out of a plane this year as the usual building for abseiling was unavailable.

Each year about 20 bosses were dropped off buildings. This year's participants include Bay of Plenty District Health Board's Helen Mason, Classic Builders' Matt Lagerberg, Mr Bougen and Ms Bateson.

Last year $18,500 was raised for the foundation.

"I'm blown away by the number of people who are willing to take a leap of faith this year for us," said Mr AllenGordon.

Mr Bougen said he was looking forward to his skydive on April 21, which would be his second. He was gifted a tandem dive for his 50th birthday a few years ago.

"It's exhilarating, fun and scary all at the same time. When my feet touched the ground I thought to myself I should do another one to get over the last of that fear." Mr Bougen said Comvita had supported Kiwi Can, one of the programmes run by the foundation, for a number of years.

"I'm quite looking forward to it, I really love what they do." Ms Bateson said she was not scared, but she was slightly anxious.

"I am nervous about being chucked out of a plane and because it is tandem, I will be strapped to someone, so I can't back out. But I am looking forward to it, it's always been something I wanted to do." Ms Bateson said she bungee jumped in 2007 and was nervous then but enjoyed it.

She said the Graeme Dingle Foundation was a great cause to support.

"They improve lives of children, prepare them for adulthood and are a positive influence for Bay of Plenty children." Who they are The Graeme Dingle Foundation aims to inspire all school-age New Zealand children to reach their full potential through programmes that help build self-esteem, promote good values and which teach valuable life, education and health skills.

Current programmes include Kiwi Can, Stars, Career Navigator and Project K.

"I am nervous about being chucked out of a plane."

Sonya Bateson, Bay of Plenty NZME head of news

Caption Text:
FREE FALLING: Alan Bougen and Sonya Bateson will skydive for the Graeme Dingle Foundation. PHOTO/JOHN BORREN

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