Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Chaplaincy at the 2013 Winternationals

I will be assisting my father again this year with the chaplaincy work at the Winternationals drag racing meet at Willowbank Raceway.  It's been 8 years since my first Winternationals as chaplain, and though I missed one or two, it is a big part of my year.  A few years back the local Ipswich paper did a story on Dad. I thought I'd copy it up here again to give you all a little insight, and maybe you can be in prayer for us this week as we work trackside.

Chaplain offers a helping hand
Charlie Sandham's behind-the-scenes work at motorsport meets plays a crucial role in the lives of competitors, crews and officials across South-East Queensland. Shannon Perry spoke to the volunteer motorsport chaplain about life in the fast lane. Charlie Sandham never misses a local major motorsport meet.
From drag racing at Wil­lowbank Raceway to the V8 Supercar Championship rounds and the Gold Coast Indy, Mr Sandham is always in the thick of the action.
It comes with his job as a motorsport chaplain.'
A love of cars and a chance opportunity four years ago sees Mr Sandham rubbing shoulders with motorsport royalty while offering a car­ing presence for competi­tors, crews and officials.
Mr Sandham, who juggles the volunteer work with a career as a planner for Tas­man Aviation Enterprises, is preparing for the Winternationals in June and Indy in October. "There are three major parts to my role as chaplain. Firstly you have to be the God person, someone who people can come to for a chat," Mr Sandham said.
"Secondly, you're a carer for people who may want to talk about personal or fam­ily issues.
"Finally, and perhaps the most hardest part, is the role I play in the case of a fatality or major accident. I'm there to look after and support people including the family and crew."
Mr Sandham said the motorsport community was still reeling after the deaths of V8 Supercar driver Ashley Cooper, who died in a racing incident earlier this year, and Queensland drag racer Kenneth Smith, who died when his rail dragster crashed at Willow­bank Raceway in 2007.
"The motorsport com­munity is very tight knit, and a fatality hits home hard. When Peter Brock died the effects were felt Australia wide," he said.
"Every chaplain had peo­ple who were affected and needed support."
Despite the sometimes dif­ficult circumstances, Mr Sandham· said being a motorsport chaplain was a rewarding way to combine his love of cars with a passion for helping others.
"These events would be impossible to run without the volunteers," he said.
"It's a big responsibility, but it's great to be a part of."

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