Dec 4, 2017

Celebrating Local Champions in Holt Speech – 4 Dec 2017

In what is hopefully the last sitting week of the year, I wanted to mention some community champions and local achievers in my area. Last week I had the pleasure of meeting with Zoe Panagiotopoulos from Provenance Artists, who painted a series of paintings as part of the 2015 Holt Anzac Centenary Fine Art Exhibition, of which a book was produced. It was very moving to meet with Zoe because two of her paintings—one called Somme Reverie and the other called God Speed—will be heading overseas this month to be part of the Sir John Monash Centre’s collection at Villers-Bretonneux in France. I felt very blessed that a grant that was auspiced under the Anzac Centenary grants program was able to produce two world-class paintings as part of this magnificent Holt Anzac Centenary Fine Art Exhibition and that the people of France will be able to see these particular paintings, as they are quite graphic and quite moving.

I would also like to point out that I joined with the Casey-Cardinia Library Corporation to launch the ‘Forgiving Tree’ initiative. This initiative delivers much needed help and support to local charities in the lead-up to Christmas. In its first year ever, the initiative of the library forgave book fines and other fees in exchange for a donation to the library’s Forgiving Tree. That initiative raised about $15,000 for local charities. Each of the seven libraries under the Casey-Cardinia Library Corporation banner chose a local charity to partner with and passed on the community donations for those struggling during the Christmas period. I was proud to support this initiative, which we launched at Bunjil Place. The member for La Trobe might speak about that later, I suspect. We encouraged all those in the south-eastern region to add a present under the tree whether they had a library fine or not.

Finally, I had the pleasure last Sunday week of attending the Berwick District Woodworkers Club’s toy gala, which was very good. The organisation was established in 1986. This amazing group of about 100 people crafted more than 850 toys which they presented to local charities on that Sunday. This is an incredible group of people who donate their time. Some of the craftsmanship of the toys, as the member for La Trobe would know, is incredible. There was a rocking horse that I was actually walked up to see. You would value that rocking horse on the market at $5,000. It was donated to charity. I met with the individual who crafted that rocking horse from 300 hours of his own work. That’s just one example of the incredible work that’s done by the Berwick District Woodworkers Club.

I just wanted to mention those three incredible initiatives by local community champions who should be honoured in the lead-up to this Christmas period.


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