Wood Days Supporters

Wood Days Supporters

Helen and John Holcombe have been assisting at The Wood Days for over five years. This weekend is a very special time for both of them and as Helen said, this is their way of contributing to CIKA. They have great respect for the work that Andrew and Christine do and they both enjoy the areas that they cover at the weekend. Helen is involved with food sales and John is head chef for damper production. At a recent working bee they happily donated a new tank and water to put in it.

Donna and Sam Taranto, plus Nick, Thomas and Lucas. The Taranto family have become an institution at the Wood Days. Over the last six years this special weekend for the Taranto family sees them packing tents, sleeping bags and trailer loads of equipment including a Lister engine to run the axe handle machine, and occasionally a Mc Donald’s engine to run the saw bench. Sam’s great joy is his work with Kevin on the post and rail fencing whilst Donna manages the fruit and veggie stall and raffles. Sam, through his business connections, started the Wood Days Calendar five years ago – this has raised over $50,000. The contributions from their family farms are most welcome and they supply all the greens for the Saturday dinner which feeds 140 guests.

Dean, Brett and Scott Duyvestyn. The combined skills of these three men bring a lot to the mix for the weekend. Dean and Brett are the supervising chefs and long before the event takes place menus are planned and donations are sourced throughout Victoria. All food for the Saturday night dinner is prepared and cooked over an open camp fire in camp ovens. Scott’s great love is timber and his skills are utilized in post and rail fencing and the cutting of slabs of fallen timber for home furniture. The timber is donated from work sites in the area. This year Scott captured the weekend with a Go pro and it can be seen on YouTube by clicking here.

Beth Wilkinson is a well-renowned artist in the Western District. Beth has a real love and feeling for the bush and the horses, and for more than eight years she has donated her paintings to be auctioned at this special weekend. Beth supports several charities but has a special place in her heart for the RCH as her grandson Alistair is a current patient at the hospital. When asked why she supported us, Beth replied “I have had good luck in my life time and I wanted to give back.”

Shirley Shepherd is one of the stalwarts of the Wood Days. She started attending over seventeen years ago and “Mother”, as she is known to many, is happy to work in the area of catering for the morning and afternoon teas. Shirley is Dean’s grandmother and she said that after all the help that Dean received from the RCH she felt the need to support this event as she realized at the time of Deans treatment they were so lucky to have him. She has great admiration for all the work that Christine and Andrew do and the engagement of the whole family, numbering around thirty four stalwarts, is inspiring.

Chris and Peta Thomas, plus Matthew, Cameron and Mikayla. This family have been attending this event for over fourteen years. Work and school is set aside one week each year for this CIKA function. Peta said that, as a family, they are so proud to have chosen CIKA, with its goal of funding research, as their special charity, and having their cousin Dean healthy was a great inspiration to them. The children have benefited from learning all the bush skills of former years, they have learnt to work within the community for no financial reward. Chris and his sons man the slab cutter for the weekend and Peta works in food sales, raffles and general presentation.

Kevin and Janenne Kingwell are longstanding supporters of this weekend. For over fifteen years they have packed up from Beaufort and made the journey to Milltown. When asked, Janenne said that they were both thankful that they had three healthy grandchildren and when they looked at some of the pictures of the CIKA children they realized how lucky they were and that this weekend brings it home a little bit more. Janenne works with the other women in food preparation and sales and enjoys the fellowship and company of the other volunteers.

Kevin’s story is very interesting, he was a wood cutter and left school at the age of fifteen. It was only for a short period that he used an axe and then was easily converted to chain saws. He was at the Echuca steam rally when Andrew approached him and asked if he would demonstrate his bush skills at the Wood Days. Kevin’s forte is post and rail fencing and shingle splitting. A new group of Wood Day volunteers are being taught these skills by Kevin, using traditional tools. Kevin has an extensive range of old hand tools and other implements that are displayed each year.

Geoff Inkster is our man from Warracknabeal. Each year for the last sixteen years Geoff comes with a very loaded truck that carries the axe handle making machine. Over the whole weekend Geoff sources fallen timber to shave and shape to fit this machine that was used early last century to make riffle buts. As a farmer Geoff is able to supply meat for the Saturday dinner and also contributes financially to the weekend. Geoff enjoys the company of the oldies, but his great joy is showing the children how the machine works and presenting them with a finished product.

Nick and Kaye Duyvestyn set aside around a week to help set up and break down for the weekend. Both of them are also happy to attend working bees at the block during the year. Kaye oversees the working of the stalls, food preparation, collecting camping fees and collating the numbers for the Saturday dinner. Nick, along with Steve Lehrer, looks after the gate both days. The entrance fees are collected, cars, buses and bikes are parked, and visitors are advised of the day’s activities.