Rescue squad self-funds

ALBANY Sea Rescue Squad has unveiled some shiny new equipment that will help the volunteer organisation continue to keep the seas safe from disaster.

Rolling out a state-of-the-art tow truck for its operations, the rescue squad now boasts a vehicle that is capable of towing its boats anywhere, according to President Colin Bairstow.

“We now can have the truck hooked up permanently to the boat, whereas before we had to do all sorts of funny things to get it going in the water,” he said.

Mr Bairstow said the new truck saved his crew about 10 minutes which they could now spend being out on the ocean.

“If we need to go to Denmark or Cheynes Beach, we can launch our boat very quickly,” he said.

According to Mr Bairstow, the new edition is a significant upgrade, with the squad previously using an old cruiser that was getting long on its legs.

“We now know that when we come down and turn the key it will be reliable,” he said.

“In the past there had been a couple of times where the old vehicle had a flat battery or engine failure.”

The volunteer organisation was able to fund the purchase of the new vehicle through its own savings – a feat that Mr Bairstow said was a state first.

“This is something I felt like we needed to do to show the Albany public the money is going into something,” he said.

“It’s great to show we can stand on our own two feet.”

Albany City Motors Financial Director Scott Leary, who helped secure the organisation a good price on the truck, said it was a great reflection on how the organisation operated.

“There was no hand out; these guys have done all the hard work,” he said.

Mr Leary, who will run as the WA Liberal Party candidate for the seat of Albany at next year’s State election, said a self-funded local rescue squad was just about unheard of.

“They’ve stored their own funds and bought a quality product that will service the Albany community,” he said.

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Surf’s on

WHILE countless sporting events around the country were cancelled this week, Boardriders President David Beeck confirmed Albany Boardriders Junior Wavefest would go ahead until Surfing WA said otherwise.

Mr Beeck said any extra precautions would be taken to keep everyone safe on the day, noting that surfers have to keep their distance anyway.

Registration for the grassroots surf comp is now open to those under the age of 18, with a number of age brackets to enter into.

Depending on weather and swell conditions, the event will be held on either April 4 or 5.

To register, visit albanysurf.com

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Charity store to close its doors

ALBANY’S Cocoon Store and Studio will permanently shut its doors at the end of next month unless an arts group or individual nominates themselves to take over the operation.

Albany Community Hospice Chairperson Jane Mouritz announced this week that Cocoon – opened in 2018 to raise additional funds for Hospice alongside sister store Butterflies Op Shop – had been “unable to achieve economic sustainability” and would consequently cease operation on April 30.

However, Ms Mouritz said there was an opportunity for someone to keep the doors open.

“We are calling for expressions of interest for creative people or a creative group to keep Cocoon going,” she told the Weekender.

“We would love to see someone take it as it is.”

Ms Mouritz said Cocoon, which offers artists the space to create goods and art from upcycled materials from Butterflies, had not attracted the customers she thought it would.

“I don’t think people realised the quality of the upcycled products,” she said.

“They were all of a much higher quality.

“People just weren’t prepared to pay the money we asked for.”

Money raised from Cocoon is directly transferred to Hospice to cover operational costs, so guests at the palliative care facility do not have to pay to stay.

Ms Mouritz said prospective new managers of Cocoon would be able to have the “modest” building lease transferred to them if they wished to keep the business operating.

“It’s a great workshop space for teaching, or for sewing, or print and card making,” she said.

“We improved the lighting and specialised equipment can fit the space … hopefully, people will see it as a great space.”

People interested in Cocoon are encouraged to contact Ms Mouritz on chair@albanyhospice.org.au

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Mount Romance joins hair-raising fundraiser

THOUSANDS of Australians are planning to lop off their locks in the name of charity within the next week, including a group of Albany residents.

World’s Greatest Shave started yesterday and will run until the weekend to raise money for The Leukaemia Foundation.

The national goal this year is $17m and Albany’s The Sandalwood Shavers are hoping to contribute their bit.

Consisting of 10 staff members from Mount Romance, each person will either completely shave their head or colour their current hair this Sunday between noon and 4pm on site.

Some staff got a head start and shaved during the week.

Leukaemia Foundation CEO Bill Petch said by signing up and raising

money for the World’s Greatest Shave, participants were ensuring families facing blood cancer have someone to turn to every step of the way, access to the best possible care and treatment and a place to call home during treatment.

“Whether you have a personal connection to blood cancer or simply want to have fun and raise money for a good cause, join this year’s World’s Greatest Shave and let’s make it the best year yet,” he said.

People interested in shaving or colouring their hair on Sunday at Mount Romance should pre-register online on the event’s Facebook page.

Colours will cost $5 per person and shaves $10 per person.

Since World’s Greatest Shave started 22 years ago, more than 37,000kg of hair has been removed from people’s heads.

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Brekky service grows

ALBANY’S Breakfast in the Park program is expanding its service to a third day this week after a successful month of servicing the community.

In the space of five weeks, the Albany Regional and Volunteer Service (ARVS) project has provided food to approximately 150 clients, with more than 30 of those being school-aged children.

ARVS Manager Tracy Sleeman said the community response has been overwhelming, and has allowed the program to include the Lockyer area as of Thursday this week.

“With this whole program, I was expecting us to go out and deliver a breakfast to people who need food relief, however it has become much more than that,” she said.

“We have had residents drop in on their morning walk and ask us how we are going, they are interacting with clients, bringing us flowers to decorate the table and genuinely interested in the program.

“Clients are feeling supported and are now chatting more with us and telling us their stories and giving us great feedback about where we can assist others, hence us also including Lockyer as our next area to support people.”

The program is entirely self-sustained through running the once-a-month Scots Church kitchen, donations and fundraising.

In addition to expanding the service to a third day a week, monetary donations from several businesses have allowed new modifications to the food van, including the installation of an “Ostrich Awning” so the program can continue to operate in the winter months.

Breakfast in the Park is also on the lookout for more volunteers to help run fundraising sausage sizzles at the Shantymen Festival (Saturday, Easter long weekend), Albany Classic (Sunday, May 31) and WA Day (Saturday June 1).

“It’s made all of us who are volunteering more aware of homelessness and the need to support people in need of food relief,” Ms Sleeman said.

“There are a lot of people in our community that are doing it tough and existing services are often stretched to their limit to support people.”

People interested in volunteering, hiring the trailer or wanting more information can email volinfo@arvs.org.au or call 9841 3588.

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Anderton finalist in AgriFutures awards

WESTERN Australia’s final five have been announced for the prestigious 2020 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award, with Albany being represented by Lucy Anderton.

The agricultural economist owns a farm in partnership with her husband and has been working in the agriculture industry for the past 30 years.

“I came out here to Australia as a backpacker and ended up working on a sheep station in the goldfields,” she said.

Ms Anderton recognised the need for an easy-to-use whole-of-farm business analysis tool to assist with building resilience in the industry.

Working with agricultural stakeholders, Ms Anderton designed FARMSMART®, which allows users to explore alternative scenarios, enterprise mix and seasonal conditions.

The software is currently being developed and tested, but will be available for farmers to trial around April this year, with hopes it will be fully available in September.

The $10,000 business development award, should Ms Anderton win, will go towards helping develop FARMSMART® and will allow her to compete in the national AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award.

With this technology, Ms Anderton hopes to provide a realistic solution for farmers across Australia.

The WA Award winner will be announced at a ceremony in Perth on Wednesday, April 8.

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Friday fun day at Kendenup PS

FRIDAY is the favourite day of the week for most people but especially now for the students of Kendenup Primary School.

Principal Heather Fergie recently began a school club program which sees the 72 kindergarten to Year 6 students divided up randomly each Friday afternoon to learn new skills and participate in various activities.

When the Weekender joined in the club program last week, the student excitement in the air was infectious.

From learning how to create a beaded necklace, to cooking muesli, to learning more about papier mache, tennis and robotics, each student eagerly awaited for their name to be called out to learn which club activity they would be participating in.

Ms Fergie said the idea behind Friday Clubs was to get the community involved in the school.

“Everyone has been so supportive and the response from students and parents has been absolutely amazing,” she said.

“I really want the kids to see adults doing these skills, so they can model the skills to the students.”

Other activities on offer included gardening, learning about the bush, gymnastics, knitting, making slime, clay making, chess and painting a mural.

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Duo tackle Kokoda trek for charity

TWO Albany residents will join 19 other Australians in conquering Papua New Guinea’s gruelling Kokoda Trail in April to raise money for diabetes research.

Lisa Manera and Allan Faulkner – alongside David Page from Perth – will be the only Western Australians attempting the challenge alongside their fellow Aussie counterparts and have been training for a few months now.

Mr Faulkner reaches his daily 20,000 steps goal in his own backyard and surrounds in Porongurup, and Ms Manera has been training up and down the Sand Patch stairs and around the hilly areas of Albany to maintain her fitness.

The pair is participating in the challenge to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund (JDRF), in honour of Ms Manera’s son Josh.

Josh was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes three years ago just after his ninth birthday and it came as quite a shock to his family.

Ms Manera and family friend Mr Faulkner have been raising money for JDRF ever since.

“The diagnosis came out of nowhere like for so many other people,” Ms Manera said.

“The Kokoda trek was always something I wanted to experience one day and when this challenge came up with the opportunity to raise funds for Type 1 diabetes research, I just had to sign up.”

The pair is hosting three more fundraisers this month before they head overseas.

This Saturday, March 7, there will be a concert at Porongurup Hall featuring the Albany Shantymen, Shantylillies and bush poet Peter Blyth.

The event kicks off at 6.30pm and tickets are available at the door for $15 per adult, children under 12 are free and it’s BYO drinks and a plate to share.

There will be a fundraising sausage sizzle at Bunnings Albany on March 15.

On March 29, there will be a fundraising bushwalk around Mt Clarence and Mt Adelaide.
The walk will take approximately three to four hours and start at the bottom carpark of Apex Drive.

An entry fee payable on the day will be donated to JDRF and get participants a barbecue lunch after the walk.

For more details or to RSVP, email asilenz15@ gmail.com

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Albany 7th best Australian town

ALBANY has been recognised as one of the top 10 best tourism towns in the Wotif 2020 Aussie Town of the Year Awards.

Starting in 2018, the awards saw Albany miss out on a ranking for the first year but score second place in 2019.

Coming in at number seven this year, Albany was described as “as close as you’ll get to a historic European city in WA – Albany is the western state’s oldest European settlement with a rich history and fantastic family appeal”.

Wotif’s Chris Milligan said WA made a “really strong” showing in this year’s awards.

“Albany and Margaret River continue to be firm favourites with Wotif customers,” he said.

“I think it’s the diverse experience you can have across the region, whether it’s food right through to the beautiful coastline.”

The Wotif Aussie Town of the Year Awards are based on a data index that recognises Australian destinations that have offered “good affordability, well-rated accommodation and increasing traveller interest” over the past 12 months on Wotif.com.

“If the results from previous years are anything to go by, we hope the awards provide a boost to this year’s finalists, in what is going to be a particularily important year for domestic travel,” Wotif Managing Director Daniel Finch added.

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Mural project combats suicide

A NEW mural along Albany Highway has been painted to add to a broader creative project aimed at raising awareness about mental health.

The Blue Tree Project started a couple of years ago as a way for a Mukinbudin family to honour their son who died from suicide.

Now, the project has prompted dozens of groups around the state to paint dead trees in regional WA blue to act as conversation starters for depression, suicide and anxiety.

Blue With A View – a support group based in Mt Barker – has created a mural on a water tank on local Glen Clode’s property to reflect The Blue Tree Project.

The mural is located a few metres before Gilberts Wines in Kendenup, on the left.

“We’ve got to get rid of that stigma,” Mr Clode said.

“Even if just one person sees the mural or the trees and helps someone prevent suicide, then we’ve achieved something.”

The mural was a combined effort by residents Lyn Hambley, Kym Stoneham and Helen Andrijasevic.

It took approximately 15 hours to paint.

“What we hope is that people will see it as they are driving, and that they will check in with the person next to them and ask, ‘Are you okay?’,” Ms Hambley said.

“Because it’s okay not to be okay.”

The Blue With A View support network can be found on Facebook for those seeking others to talk to, or for those wanting to find out more about upcoming fundraisers the group is hosting to assist organisations such as BeyondBlue.

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