Dave Simpson and Bob Bower, along with John Wildermoth, organise the Northcote Rugby meat raffles at the Northcote Tavern. These raffles happen every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings from 5pm. With John away it was left to the shy duo of Dave and Bob to have a chat to Channel Magazine’s Aidan Bennett for this month’s Northcote Tavern TavTalk.
AIDAN BENNETT: So Dave, they tell me these meat raffles have been happening at the Northcote Tavern since the 1940s. Surely you haven’t been here that long?
DAVE SIMPSON: Not quite that long! Yes these meat raffles have been a fixture here since the 40s, getting on for 80 years ago. I started in around 1970, almost 50 years ago. They originally started with Rugby, League and Bowls sharing four months of the year each to raise funds. Then it became just the Northcote Rugby Club for their funds. Different teams have run it and then it was just left to us, the Northcote Old Boys. The NOBS!
AB: How many NOBS do you have involved?
BOB BOWER: We have a NOBS crew of about 35 who take turns to run the raffles. Two are on Thursday evenings and three on Friday and Saturday nights as they are a bit busier. We buy the meat from Grant Wright (Highbury Butcher), it's great stuff and he delivers the packs directly to the tavern for us now.
AB: So where does the money go?
DS: When the NOBS took over running the raffles we decided that we would raise the funds for different organisations that need it. Mostly with a rugby focus, supporting rugby in the community. Funds go to both Birkenhead and Northcote College rugby and Hato Petera for many years before it closed. Junior boys rugby have benefitted. We also provide the Northcote Rugby Club with funds from time-to-time for special projects – recently we helped them buy video gear. Some also goes back to the Tavern and they give it to charities they want to support – recently cancer and some schools.
AB: What is your favourite tipple (drink) when you visit the Tavern?
DS: I enjoy a Speights Mid or a Lion Red.
BB: Yip, Speights Mid is good or a Macs Gold (although he was drinking a Heineken 00 the evening we dropped in).
AB: The Tavern has a reputation for great pub food as well, do you have something on the menu that’s a favourite?
DS: I love the wedges.
BB: My favourite is the Sunday Roasts.
AB: What is it that you enjoy about the Northcote Tavern?
DS: It is just a great local. We first started coming here when our social team used to play at Stafford Park and the rugby clubrooms were too busy to go back to. And it was just a short trip to the Tavern.
BB: We both live local, so this is our local and it really is a real community. Very social. Staff are good and Billy and Kim really embrace the raffles which really benefits the community.
AB: Are the All Blacks going to win the Rugby World Cup?
BB: Yip, I reckon they will play the South Africans in the final and beat them.