Uniting the world in song

THE countdown is on ahead of an annual global simultaneous sing-along event and Albany locals and visitors are encouraged to join in.

World Singing Day has been celebrated on the third Saturday of October for the past seven years in a bid to support local and global friendships and celebrate humanity’s connections through the international language of music.

Albany is hosting one of 16 free World Singing Day events being held in Australia – Australia has the second highest number of events in the world this year, just five behind the USA – and the Albany celebrations will take place this Saturday, October 19, from 2-3pm at the Museum of the Great Southern’s Co-Op Building.

Music teacher Teresa Hughes will lead the charge and said she was excited to host the first ever World Singing Day in Albany.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to sing together and be part of a worldwide event,” she said.

“It brings in the wider community and creates a connection to other communities around the world.

“It will be really beautiful.”

She added that music and singing was a great way to keep mentally healthy and to simply feel good.

The performance will run for approximately 45 minutes, giving participants the chance to sing up to 15 songs.

She encouraged people to arrive at 1.45pm to allow enough time for everyone to get organised ahead of a 2pm sharp start time.

No experience is needed – simply turn up and be ready to sing.

Lyrics will be handed out on the day.

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Tavern turns pink

PINK is the word and the colour this month for Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it is expected to brighten up Elleker Tavern this weekend.

A breast cancer fundraiser morning tea is planned for this Saturday from 10.30am at the Tavern in honour of breast cancer survivors, those who have passed, patients and their families, and in particular, Elleker Tavern owner Glenda Parsons.

Ms Parsons was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Stage 3 breast cancer just three months ago in July.

With her family, friends and work family rallying around her, she has already undergone numerous sessions of chemotherapy and an operation, and now has five rounds of chemotherapy left before 21 rounds of radiation.

Ms Parsons said it was a real shock to learn of her diagnosis after having a breast check.

“We got it very early so I’m very lucky,” she said.

“The prognosis is very good.”

Joining Ms Parsons at the morning tea among many others will be Robin Bromilow, a member of the Albany branch of the Knitted Knockers.

Knitted Knockers Australia is a volunteer-run operation that knits free cotton prosthetic breasts for people who have had mastectomies.

Ms Bromilow said more than 3000 pairs of knitted knockers had been given away in Albany in five years and said it demonstrated just how many people were afflicted by the disease.

“You go to people’s houses and you hear some incredible stories,” she said.

“One lady had undergone a double mastectomy and after getting a pair of knitted knockers, said she felt like a woman again.

“You don’t realise how much that can affect you.”

The morning tea is free to attend, and people are asked to wear pink, bring money to donate and a plate of sweet or savoury treats to share.

There will be games, hampers, wine and prizes, and a grand door prize for the best dressed person addressing the Pretty in Pink theme.

Elleker Tavern is located on Lower Denmark Road, approximately 15 minutes from the Albany CBD.

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Dance event has right spirit

A DANCE group that prides itself on inclusivity and acceptance is hosting its spring showcase this weekend.

Bonnie Giles Production Company, headed by owner Jade Smith, will present Spirit of Spring this Saturday at 7pm and Sunday at 3pm at Antonia’s Dance Studio on Lockyer Avenue.

Ms Smith said she formed the company after she was knocked back from various dance academies and did not want to see that type of rejection occur to anyone else.

“I said to myself, ‘I’ll be damned if I let that happen to other people’,” she said.

“This is a space where people can express themselves; for people who feel rejected and give them a place to belong.

“If people feel they don’t have a place to belong, they have a place here.”

Ms Smith said she’s seen first-hand the difference the performing arts and her inclusive environment has had on people.

“It’s great especially for people who don’t really have any confidence, because you see them start to come out of their shell and they feel better within themselves,” she said.

“And they’re part of a family here, too.”

Spirit of Spring will feature hip

hop, contemporary, jazz, commercial and Latin dance routines in a variety-style show, themed to spring.

“It’s about spring and renewal and rebirth,” Ms Smith explained.

“But with that sometimes comes tragedy, so we have some more serious routines too.

“I just want everyone to see how passionate these people are and see their love for the performing arts.”

Tickets are on sale now from Paperbark Merchants for this weekend’s event and there is a special treat for people who purchase table seats.

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Lions answer SES call

ALBANY SES’ decade-long appeal to the Department of Fire and Emergency Services for better cold climate gear has been partially alleviated following a donation of six alpine kits from the Albany South Coast Lions Club.

The unit received the sets of protective jackets and trousers from the local not-for-profit last Friday, at least 10 years after it first appealed to DFES for similar equipment with no success.

Lions Club President Lindsay Smith said he was initially alerted to the SES group’s struggle attaining cold climate gear after reading about it in a Weekender article in May (‘SES left out in cold’, May 23).

“The Club has no hesitation at all in funding these things because we recognise the obvious need,” he said.

“In some ways, we actually hope it doesn’t get used because if it gets used, there’s a problem somewhere.”

The Weekender story included comments from several senior and former SES members who claimed DFES inaction despite repeated appeals for equipment had resulted in numerous close calls during rescue operations.

SES Volunteer Association President Gordon Hall said at the time that Great Southern SES units had been requesting assistance for “10 or 15 years”.

“Straightaway it can be affecting the rescuer, let alone the person to be rescued,” he said.

“It would not be an efficient or safe rescue if they haven’t got the appropriate cold climate equipment.”

SES Albany member Robert Boyes said the newly contributed gear was much better suited for the region’s climate than older personal protective clothing.

“We are issued with raincoats and the like but they’re not designed for what we do,” he said.

“If you’re standing around in the rain they’re great, but often you might be trudging up Bluff Knoll or the Bibbulmun track carrying a stretcher and you get very hot.

“The beauty of these is they’re not only lightweight but they’re very breathable. You don’t have people getting hypothermic and it’s just safer and more efficient.”

According to Mr Boyes, the Department has made some progress since May.

It appointed its new Deputy Commissioner Craig Waters in July and formed a working group to investigate the need for cold climate gear in the Great Southern around two months ago.

Mr Boyes said the Albany unit accepted the Lions Clubs’ offer despite this because DFES working groups take “at least two or three years to get an outcome”.

“[Deputy Commissioner Waters] recognised this needed to be dealt with and he insisted there be an interim response. He’s a refreshing ray of sunshine,” he said.

“But we could still see the timeline with DFES stretching out to the point where we were going to have another season without the right equipment and so we quite happily got back to the Club.”

DFES Assistant Commissioner Country Operations Paul Ryan told the Weekender that it was providing “an interim supply of cold climate protective clothing until the full clothing review is completed”.

In the meantime, the Albany unit will be able to use the six alpine kits in conjunction with the items supplied by DFES to equip 12 volunteers.

“That’s a much better position than we were in last week,” Mr Boyes said.

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Vale Peter Alexander Morris

Peter Morris lived life to its fullest, embracing a range of arts from music to photography along with his motorcycle and media exploits. Here we celebrate his life.

FORMER editor of the Weekender, media advisor and musician Peter Morris will be remembered as a motorcycle-mad, fun-loving and kind-hearted gentleman at a service in Albany next week.

Mr Morris passed away last Thursday aged 58 after a 15-month battle with stage four stomach cancer.

It started with an unusual stomach ache in July 2018 and led to Mr Morris undergoing 21 rounds of chemotherapy.

A recent fundraising effort to raise $55,000 to pay for immunotherapy for Mr Morris was supported by 43 donors who contributed nearly $4000 within two months.

Unfortunately, Mr Morris was unable to receive this treatment.

He was surrounded by friends and family at Albany Community Hospice when he passed, leaving behind partner Carol, sons Kit and Jake, mother Ann and brother Richard.

His family remember him as a keen cyclist, motorcyclist, art enthusiast and musician who loved working as an archaeologist’s assistant when he was young before being a researcher for Getty Images in the UK, working in educational publishing, shaking up the 1980s English alternative music scene and volunteering with numerous Great Southern environmental organisations.

“My dad lived harder in his tragically short life than most people do,” eldest son Kit said.

“He lived life to its fullest and touched many people’s lives.

“He was a kind-hearted gentleman who left the world in a way that kept his dignity, which was very important to him, completely intact.

“We are immensely proud of how bravely he tackled the disease that took his life.”

An outpouring of grief for the well-known photographer and guitarist has continued as his family prepares to say goodbye on Tuesday.

Mr Morris played with The Toyboyz for three years and member Dave Morrison said his death was a sad loss to the Albany music scene.

“We knew his talents were way better than what he was doing with us,” he said.

“Pete was a great guy to gig with, always had a smile and a joke and a story to tell.

“You were so strong right to the end.

“Rest easy, your battle is over.”

Weekender Managing Director Mark Loveridge said he was deeply saddened to hear about Mr Morris’s passing.

“I know how much he meant to our staff here and about the positive impact he made on the paper,” he said.

“He was a respected hard worker and I give my sincerest condolences to his family.”

After working at the Weekender from September 2016 to June 2017, Mr Morris was the media advisor for Federal MP Rick Wilson.

Mr Wilson hopes to honour Mr Morris’s memory.

“Peter was a much-loved member of my team,” he said.

“He will be missed and in honour of Peter and his photographic journalism skills, I have selected one of his pieces to be highlighted in the annual O’Connor calendar.”

Mr Morris will be remembered at a service at Bethany Funeral Home on October 15 at 10.30am.

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Pest control blitz

THE discovery of an exotic spider in Albany recently has highlighted the value of community surveillance and initiatives like the annual Biosecurity Blitz in identifying new and introduced species.

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Development Officer Laura Fagan said Biosecurity Blitz provided a great opportunity for the public to survey their local environment for any interesting creepy crawlies.

“The spider was reported by a member of the public, who uploaded photographs via the department’s MyPestGuide Reporter app to its Pest and Disease Information Service team,” she said.

“We then liaised with the Western Australian Museum and identified it as a female Slater spider, or Dysdera crocata, which hails from the Mediterranean and has never been found in this state before.

“Fortunately, the spider … is now a preserved specimen in the Museum’s collection.”

Biosecurity Blitz participants can make reports using the free MyPestGuide Reporter or WA PestWatch apps or via the department’s webpages.

The department’s experts assess each report and send back a response about what the organism is and whether it is a biosecurity risk or not.

Ms Fagan encouraged all members of the public to sign up for before the campaign begins.

“We receive great feedback from this initiative every year, as people enjoy the fun of getting outdoors and sharing in the satisfaction gained from helping to reinforce the State’s biosecurity defences,” she said.

For more information on the Biosecurity Blitz this month visit www.agric.wa.gov.au/biosecurityblitz

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Soul survivor

AN ALBANY woman who endured seven months of intensive chemotherapy for breast cancer while caring for her terminally ill husband has urged women to never ignore unusual changes to their bodies.

Kris Taylor shared her story with the Weekender for October Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a Cancer Council WA campaign to remind women to be breast aware and participate in breast screenings.

Ms Taylor was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer in May 2015.

She started feeling a niggling pain near her breast and decided to get it checked out.

She said she always went for her regular mammograms.

“It was November 2014 and I thought it was just indigestion,” Ms Taylor said.

“But then my husband got his cancer diagnosis in February, so I put all my attention on him.

“Then one day, I got my friend to look after him while I went to the doctor and they rang me back soon after to say I needed to see a surgeon.”

Now, having laid to rest her husband and mother – former Albany mayor Annette Knight – and being in the clear with her cancer, Ms Taylor is determined to be strong.

“I buried Mum, I buried Paul, and I thought, I’ve got to be a survivor,” she said.

“I’ve got to get out there and help other people.

“Life is for living and I have so much more living to do – breast cancer can either take your breath away or give you life.”

To celebrate her 60th birthday recently, Ms Taylor treated herself to a chest tattoo, which covers her double mastectomy scars and includes lots of flowers, which she said are a tribute to all breast cancer survivors.

She now avoids meat and soy products, grows all her own fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices, and goes for six-monthly checkups.

She urged women to know their breasts and participate in screenings when they are eligible.

Cancer Council WA Great Southern Regional Education Officer Bruce Beamish echoed her message.

He said women from regional WA were particularly likely to delay going to a medical clinic when they were experiencing symptoms, with many experiencing self-doubt about the existence of the symptoms.

“Everyone’s breasts are different,” Mr Beamish said.

“It is important that you get to know what your breasts look and feel like, so you know what is normal for you.

“Being breast aware and knowing what to look for could help find breast cancer early and increase the chance of successful treatment.”

Information about breast cancer symptoms can be found at findcancerearly.com.au

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Chorus’ final call

NEXT month marks the final opportunity Denmark women have to join local choreographer Annette Carmichael’s large-scale dance project Chorus.

This community dance project will bring together 200 women from across WA’s south in performances to be held at Silverstream Wines over the March long weekend next year.

Since June, scores of women in six communities have begun working with a team of dance artists.

“Chorus celebrates the strength and solidarity of women,” Ms Carmichael explained.

“It is inspired by the peace marches and group actions by women across the globe, calling for equality and demanding safety.”

Women are invited to join the last two groups in Denmark that commence rehearsals in October.

The Denmark ‘Gentle’ group will be performing alongside ex-WA Ballet dancer Holly Carter.

Together they will create dance that is gentle on the knees, with gestures and formation walking. Rehearsals start October 22 at the Denmark Civic Centre and will be held each Tuesday 12.30-2.30pm, with occasional Sundays.

On October 24, the Denmark ‘Active’ group begins their weekly rehearsals performing alongside US-trained dancer Sumer Addy.

This group is suitable for people who can run and get up and down off the floor quickly.

These rehearsals are held each Thursday 12.30-2.30pm, with occasional Sundays.

Women aged 14 years and over are welcome to participate in the project.

No prior dance experience is required.

Visit annettecarmichael.com.au/chorus for full details and to register.

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Market ‘hanging on’

ALBANY’S monthly Scots Uniting Church craft market will cease to exist if a charity organisation cannot be found to supply food at the event.

Event liaison Edith Verran said the market was “hanging on” but the likelihood of pulling the pin on it altogether was sadly coming closer to being a reality.

She reached out to the Weekender in an attempt to catch the eye of a charitable organisation that would fit the bill of food service.

“At the start, the church ladies provided the food at a very reasonable price,” Ms Verran explained.

“And lots of people would come; they’d come to socialise, it was lovely.

“But the ladies got too old, so they stopped, and the Leukaemia Foundation group stepped in and did soup and sandwiches.”

Ms Verran said this group could not muster enough helpers to get back into it after the church’s kitchen was closed for six months for renovations.

Since the reopening, visitor numbers have dwindled without the lure of food and Ms Verran is heartbroken at the thought of having to put an end to the market.

“We’re all old, we can’t do it,” she said of the current church members.

“We’re happy for any charity groups to come and use the kitchen for free, but it has to be [raising money] for a charitable organisation – and it can just be simple food.

“Otherwise, the market will close if there’s no food.”

Ms Verran reflected on the significance of the market to the Albany community.

“I think it’s very important,” she said.

“People would always come back and meet their friends, and it’s great for pensioners because they don’t have much money and there’s always well-priced meals … and there’s always very friendly people at the market.”

Prospective charity groups must be available two days every month to provide food at the market and can choose their own operating hours between 9am and 3pm.

The commercial-grade kitchen has plentiful crockery, cutlery and storage, a dishwasher, stove, oven and fridges, and Ms Verran said the Church was happy to purchase slow cookers for use.

The craft market has existed for 35 years, 27 of them whilst located at the Scots Uniting Church on York Street.

Interested groups are urged to contact Ms Verran on 9841 2729.

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Early detection campaign push

THE story of Katanning retiree Ruth Aldshead should be a message to all – if you notice something unusual with your body, get it checked out.

Ms Aldshead started experiencing lower abdominal pain, blood in her stool and changes in her bowel movements back in 2010 when she was in her late 70s.

It was her persistence in going to the doctor and returning again when she wasn’t happy with their opinion that eventuated in her bowel cancer diagnosis.

Ms Aldshead was diagnosed with terminal cancer but swift treatment soon after she noticed her unusual symptoms meant she is still enjoying her life today, nine years later.

She urges people to be aware of their bodies and get anything different or unusual checked out straight away.

“I was brought up in the English tradition of ‘just get over it’ but I felt something was wrong,” Ms Aldshead told the Weekender.

“I was terribly healthy, so when I went to the doctor, I didn’t feel strong enough to push it, but a few months later there was more pain and I went back.”

Ms Aldshead admits she’s been very lucky but reiterated how important it is to listen to your body.

“If you’ve got any lumps or bumps or unexplained pain, investigate it,” she said.

“An early notice can mean it’s treated, and it’s gone.”

Ms Aldshead continues to undergo chemotherapy to keep on top of the cancer that “crops up a bit” but maintains her positive attitude by focusing on external interests, such as the growing climate change debate.

The Cancer Council’s Find Cancer Early campaign encourages people to get symptoms checked and look after their bodies.

There are several screening tests available, including a bowel cancer kit for people who do not have any noticeable symptoms for bowel cancer, that could potentially save your life.

Visit findcancerearly.com.au for more information.

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