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Former All Black performs impromptu Haka at North Devon Hospice fundraiser

PUBLISHED: 13:35 14 November 2017

Richard Brend, Director - Brend Hotels hands over a cheque for £10,353 to Stephen Roberts, Chief Executive of North Devon Hospice with star guest former All Black rugby legend Zinzan Brooke.

Richard Brend, Director - Brend Hotels hands over a cheque for £10,353 to Stephen Roberts, Chief Executive of North Devon Hospice with star guest former All Black rugby legend Zinzan Brooke.

Archant

Watch the moment former All Black rugby legend Zinzan Brooke performed the Haka at a fundraising dinner at The Barnstaple Hotel on Monday.

Former All Black rugby legend Zinzan Brooke stunned guests at The Barnstaple Hotel on Monday night with an impromptu Haka - the famous ‘war cry’ performed by the New Zealand team before their international matches.

The Number 8, who played 58 times for his country, was the speaker at the hotel’s annual Sportsman’s Dinner.

He said: “I don’t tend to do it (the Haka) as a showpiece but I enjoyed it and I hope everyone else did too.

“When you do it out on the pitch it doesn’t mean you’ll win the game but it’s a real show of fight and I think the rugby fans in Barnstaple saw that.”

Mr Brooke, 52, was challenged to perform the Haka by former Wales and British Lions player John Taylor, the compere for the night’s events.

The Brend Hotels Sportsman’s Dinner is an important fundraiser for the North Devon Hospice and that was the reason for the Kiwi star to put on the show.

“I only do it now for the right reasons and I was asked if I’d do it to help raise some extra money for the hospice and I was happy to do so,” he added.

The North Devon Hospice recently announced an operating loss of £500,000 in the last financial year and relies on events like The Sportsman’s Dinner to raise money towards its £4.5million operating costs each year.

Zinzan Brooke is interviewed by former Wales and British Lions rugby player John Taylor Zinzan Brooke is interviewed by former Wales and British Lions rugby player John Taylor

Ticket sales for the dinner along with an auction of sporting memorabilia and raffle brought in £10,353 for North Devon Hospice.

Richard Brend, director of Brend Hotels, said: “We’re delighted to have been able to help raise a significant amount of money on the night.

“The hospice is having a bit of a tough time at the moment so thank you to everyone who gave so generously and to Zinzan Brooke for coming to see us.

“His rugby stories went down well but the night will be remembered for his Haka right in the middle of the Barnstaple Hotel. It was quite a sight.”

Zinzan Brooke is interviewed by former Wales and British Lions rugby player John Taylor Zinzan Brooke is interviewed by former Wales and British Lions rugby player John Taylor

Zinzan Brooke is still involved in the game as he coaches junior rugby sides in Windsor where he now lives.

He told guests at the dinner to encourage their children and grand children into playing all sports not just rugby - saying where you live is no barrier to success.

“There were four times the number of people in the room at the Barnstaple Hotel than the village where I grew up in New Zealand,” he said.

“But my parents encouraged me and my brothers to play any sport, it all helped. I was determined and I made it and kids from North Devon can too.”

The £10,353 raised on Monday night surpassed the £9,500 raised last year for North Devon Hospice.

Stephen Roberts, chief executive of North Devon Hospice, said: “We are truly humbled by the support shown at this year’s Sportsman’s Dinner.

“To raise a record amount of £10,353 is incredible and every pound will help North Devon Hospice care for local patients and families.

“We support those facing the impact of cancer and other life-limiting illnesses, but we can only be there during the toughest of times thanks to the support of the local community at events like this.

“We’d like to say a huge thank you to rugby legends Zinzan Brooke and John Taylor for being fantastic guest speakers, as well as The Events Room for bringing sporting heroes of this calibre to North Devon.

“But most of all we’d like to thank Brend Hotels for their unstinting support of the hospice. It takes a great deal of work to pull off an event of this size, and we truly appreciate their fantastic efforts.”

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