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10-year-old all smiles after $5,600 diamond ring pops out of her Christmas cracker

Visitor from New Zealand wins grand prize in annual Comox Valley fundraiser
10-year-old Ivy Costello and YANA executive director Kelly Barnie show off Ivy’s new diamond ring. Photo supplied

A 10-year-old New Zealand girl is sporting a $5,600 diamond ring thanks to a Vancouver Island Christmas cracker.

You Are Not Alone, a Comox Valley-based charity for sick children, hosts an annual fundraiser involving the sale of 5,000 volunteer hand-crafted Christmas crackers, one of which contains a special grand prize.

The 2022 version of the event ended with a bang for 10-year-old Ivy Costello from New Zealand.

Although the grand prize winner typically comes forward at the end of December after having snapped their winning cracker at the Christmas dinner table, this year, YANA supporters across the region were left in suspense until early January.

Ivy’s family has ties to the Comox Valley, where her mom, Megan, grew up and attended Highland Secondary School before moving to New Zealand in 2009. They celebrated the new year on Hornby Island with extended family by opening their Christmas Crackers that were purchased from Seeds in Cumberland and discovering that the winning cracker was in the house.

“Ivy has promised her mom not to take the ring to school when they return home from their holiday, but we’re not sure how anyone could say no to that beautiful kiwi smile,” said YANA executive director Kelly Barnie. “We want to congratulate Ivy and her family and give huge thanks to everyone who had a hand in making the Christmas Crackers so successful this year.”

This YANA fundraiser is sponsored by Somers Private Wealth of RBC Dominion Securities, with the grand prize donation from Mark the Gold Guy at Comox Valley Pawnbrokers, and the tireless volunteers who craft and deliver all 5,000 handmade Christmas Crackers.

“Between the families that purchased for their 10th or 15th year in a row, and all the new folks that bought crackers for the first time this year, the entire stock sold out in just 34 days,” said Barnie.

“We are so appreciative of every business, volunteer, cracker crafter and purchaser that made this all happen. Thank you all for being such rockstars!”