13 October 2022

Help kids in need (and celebrate Ferrari's 75th birthday) by abseiling down Woden's tallest tower

| James Coleman
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Red cars in front of a building

Ferrari cars outside Lovett Tower, Woden. Photo: James Coleman.

There are a few things you just don’t do in a Ferrari. You don’t install a towbar and you don’t drive in the rain. Water isn’t a temperamental (and very expensive) Italian supercar’s friend.

But despite the flooded roads, dreary drizzle and odd spot of aquaplaning, four of them were seen parked in front of Lovett Tower in Woden. The owners deemed the cause worth the risk.

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The Canberra PCYC (Police Community Youth Club) is holding a fundraising event over three days this December called ‘Dare to Plunge’.

In exchange for the $200 registration fee and raising $850 or more in the lead-up to Friday, 2 December, members of the public will have a choice of abseiling or zip-lining from the top of the 93-metre-high landmark building. The first 20 people to raise $1200 will score both.

The last day, Sunday, 4 December, includes a more ground-based ‘Festival of Ferraris’. A total of 75 examples – one to mark each year of Ferrari’s existence as a brand – will offer rides to kids from the PCYC, Down Syndrome Association and Canberra Hospital.

PCYC is a not-for-profit organisation with a Fitness Centre in Erindale and Community Service Centre in Fairbairn. Their mission is to help children and young people escape domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, crime and other trauma-related issues through various counselling, employment and accommodation programs.

Canberra PCYC CEO Cheryl O’Donnell says ‘Dare to Plunge’ will be accompanied by food stalls and live bands (starring country singer Paul Costa), all designed to provide a fun day out for not only the kids in their programs but also raise funds to expand these same programs.

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“Every cent goes back into supporting young people from disadvantaged backgrounds,” she says.

“Every year, we support more than 600 young people and families, 99 per cent of them with trauma-related issues – domestic violence, mental health, drug and alcohol abuse and crime. There are normally 400 to 480 others on the waitlist to get into these programs, so we would love to expand them.

“The plan is for the cafe to be open before the event.”

Two women zip-lining

Lovett Tower zip-lining in 2018. Photo: Canberra PCYC, Facebook.

PCYC held an abseiling fundraiser at Lovett Tower in 2018, but attempts to bring it back since then have been hindered by COVID and then the sale of the building in May 2022.

Cheryl reached out to the new owners earlier this year and they agreed to not only host the event but also fit out the ground floor as a training cafe for PCYC. This will be open on the day.

Michael (last name omitted for privacy reasons) is the national secretary and ACT representative for Ferrari Club Australia. He owns a collection of rare Italian supercars, including a 1963 Ferrari GTB, one of few early examples in Australia with fibreglass bodywork. “My passion for Italian cars hit very early and I started at 14 years old with an Alfa Romeo,” he says.

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“I’ve been fortunate enough to pursue it ever since.”

Michael says the connection to PCYC stems from the new building owner, who is also “heavily involved with the club”.

A 458 Italia, front-engined F12 Berlinetta and F355 GTS – all dressed in the iconic Rossa Corsa red – complete the teaser lineup at Lovett Tower. But Michael says owners from across Australia will be invited to attend on the day to make a total of 75 cars. This is to mark Ferrari’s birthday in 1947.

“The driver behind this is PCYC. The cars are just here as an additional drawcard.”

Michael, National Secretary and ACT Representative of Ferrari Club Australia. Photo: James Coleman.

Register for ‘Dare to Plunge’ on the Canberra PCYC website for $200.

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