The first Gold Panning Fun Day, organised by the new Pilgrim’s Rest Gold Panning Club on Saturday, 14 May, turned out to be a relaxed day of fun in the sun – and in the pits.
There were three heats of fifteen people in each, from which the top five went through to the final round. The top three places in the finals were taken by old hands in gold panning who are also current office bearers of the South African Gold Panning Association (SAGPA). Sendra Nsimba was the winner, followed by Bright Malatjie in second and Sherry Goodwin in third place.
The finals were followed by a joker’s competition. The entry fee for this event was R50 per person with the winner receiving half of the entry fees – so going for speed was the distinguishing feature! Nsimba won once again.
There was one first-timer to gold panning, Robert Lemmon from Nelspruit, and he even managed to reach the finals. “I told my partner that it’s so lovely that we could do this together,” said Lemmon. “About the gold panning – it’s one thing to see and hear about it, but to actually try and do it is totally different.”
Although the panning started a bit later than planned, the rest of the day was well organised. The weather was also perfect, with a threatening storm only breaking out once everything had been cleared. The Chairman of the Club, Sharon Katz, expressed her thanks to her committee members for doing a great job with this first trial run. She also thanked SAGPA, Pilgrim’s Rest Museum Services and all the individuals who pitched in to help.