A big name for a big day
AFL great Kevin Sheedy dropped into Rochester to help lift the spirits of the region’s farmers. He was the guest at the Farmers’ Big Day Out, a charity event aimed at getting farmers off their land for a relaxing afternoon.
LEGENDARY AFL coach Kevin Sheedy brought the star power to Rochester’s Dairy Farmer’s Big Day Out event last Sunday.
But the heroes of the day were organisers from St Vincent de Paul Society, REDHS and Rochester Business Network.
The three groups pulled together to host a stellar day for dairy farmers in the region, many of whom are going through tough times following the milk price drop earlier this year.
More than 175 people spent their Sunday at Rochester Racecourse Recreation Reserve — taking advantage of the showbags, lunch, entertainment and even golf.
‘‘It was fantastic,’’ St Vinnies president Gavin Houlihan said.
‘‘To see all those people there just having some time out to enjoy their day, bond with their kids and neighbours and forget about their worries was rewarding. ‘‘What a success.’’ Alan Darbyshire from the RBN said the day exemplified the character of this community.
‘‘Look what happens when you come and work together, this is certainly the event I am most proud to be a part of this year,’’ he said. ‘‘The best day in a long time.’’ St Vinnies provided showbags to every guest with lucky draw tickets and a special gift voucher that will be distributed to farmers who could not attend.
Scores of volunteers and their families spent hours setting up, serving, and making all feel welcome while Hedley Moon and the Rochester Lions provided lunch and the hit of the day — fairy floss.
Kevin Sheedy and Kevin Shinners both shared their stories of living in the AFL world, snapping shots with excited fans and signing books.
Jam Events from Elmore provided games for the many children who attended and their time.
RBN pulled together to produce plenty of lucky draw prizes while golf tragic, Rod McAsey conducted the nearest the pin events. (The results were: first event, winner, Oliver McMinn, runner-up, James Brentnall. Second event, winner Col Pearse, runner-up Oliver McMinn. Each winner received a gift voucher for Rochester Discounts.)
Nationals politicians Damien Drum and Peter Walsh donated a framed football memorabilia painting and spent hours chatting with farmers and their families while local musician Mick Tenace kept the tunes going throughout the day.
Businesses throughout the region contributed to the event, including Bruce Hocking Motors, Kits Kafe, Majors IGA, Paul Evans Welding, PJ Plumbing and Ray White.
‘‘We are sincerely grateful to everyone who made this day such a success,’’ Mr Houlihan said.