• Loddon Herald

Generous communities

INGLEWOOD Fire Brigade veterans Joe Watts and Graeme Lynden were on duty again Good Friday.

Joe, the brigade lieutenant, has been part of the local Good Friday Appeal collection team for all his 49 years in the brigade.

For the past five years, Joe has been town co-ordinator. Graeme, known as Twinkle, may have retired from active duties but was again on deck to “make sure they do it right” as he has been for 69 years.

Inglewood topped the region’s tally board raising more than $7000 through the doorknock and fundraising around town and at the Empire State Hotel.

“We’ve raised $3700 with a wood raffle this year. That’s a real boost,” Joe said.

“I used to go out on the truck but I can’t do that now I’m the co-ordinator.”

An emerging group of new local veterans were out on the streets of Inglewood.

Among them Zali Smith, daughter of brigade captain Andrew Smith, and Samuel Patterson who have been rattling the RCH tins for 15 years,

“We’ve been doing this since we were kids ... dad’s the captain,” Zali said. With them was first-time collector Zen Joiner .

Local hotels were as much a part of town efforts as the CFA and schools.

In Pyramid Hill, Paul Carter and staff at the Victoria Hotel were co-ordinating local efforts that included students and their families from Pyramid Hill College doorknocking the area,

And in Korong Vale, CFA captain Ron Weston’s team easily achieved its goal. The brigade was determined to set a new local record above $1000 after last year’s efforts were hampered by COVID restrictions.

The town ended up just short of $1400 in an amazing result.

Meanwhile, COVID safety meant the Bridgewater brigade opted to take a break from collecting for the Royal Children’s Hospital.

Captain Tim Ferguson said members felt there was still a risk with large numbers of people travelling from Melbourne into the region.

Normally, Bridgewater brigade would collect an average $18,000 for the appeal on Good Friday.

“It’s two years in a row we have missed. I didn’t feel confident doing it and I couldn’t ask the members to do it if I couldn’t,” he said.

“Hopefully, we’ll be back in 2022,” he said.

The appeal, in its 90th year, raised more than $17 million.

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