Off to a flying start
Heathcote’s Community Games kicked off on Friday. One of the highlights of the weekend’s competition was a fun run. Games mascot Fazzi was on hand to greet 10km
male and female champions Peter Cowell and Rebecca Wilkinson.
GET your game face on Heathcote because the 2016 Heathcote Community Games are under way after the official launch in Bendigo on Friday.
Around 50 people joined City of Greater Bendigo mayor Rod Fyffe and games mascot Fazzi the Phascogale at the Kangaroo Flat Botanical Gardens on Friday night to kick off the community games in fine style.
They were joined by special guests Dennis and Laurie Kennedy of the UK representing the Sutton Coldfield Community Games.
After the official welcome which included a special message from the Much Wenlock Olympian Society, guests joined Fazzi in the gardens for some fun and games before Fazzi headed off with the Fazzi Perpetual Cup from Lake Weeroona with the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail to bring the cup to Heathcote.
On a bright and cheery Saturday, Fazzi stopped in at Axedale to catch up with his mate Axle the Axedale Platypus and have a jiggle to the Heathcote Community Games theme song before taking part in the Axedale History Hunt to help launch the new Axedale Historical Loop.
Fazzi was delighted to learn the winners of the Axedale History Hunt were the Butler family of Heathcote, leaving Axle with a good reason to beat Fazzi in the mascot race this Sunday.
On arrival in Heathcote, Fazzi and the rail trail riders were treated to morning tea at the Heathcote Lions Club rail trail shelter before the cup was handed over to Patrick and Anita Connally of Connally’s Real Estate for safe keeping before the fun run on Sunday.
Pamela Boyes, Heathcote Community Games ambassador and Heathcote Australia Day award recipient, was on hand to welcome and receive the cup from the bike riders and hand over to the Connallys.
The Kennedys said they were having a wonderful time in Heathcote and were amazed by how much the community had achieved in such a short period of time, but warned games organisers the event will only get bigger and better every year.
‘‘We started out with a games that just a few hundred people attended and Sutton Coldfield is not quite as small as Heathcote — well, okay, when I say not quite it’s actually much bigger,’’ Dennis said.
‘‘Five years later we have thousands taking part in the games and it will just keep growing.
‘‘I never thought five years ago that I would ever be standing here in Australia drinking Aussie beer, but being part of the games creates a lot of opportunities you don’t expect.’’
The fun run and official launch weren’t the only major events for the weekend, with the Butler family also winning the novice orienteering challenge on Saturday night, a warm-up event for the serious competition on Sunday morning with the Mt Ida Challenge, where experienced orienteers including regional, state and international competitors converged on Mt Ida for the event.
The event was also used to trial new orienteering race technology for the first time in Victoria, which minimises the need for sprint orienteers to stop at each check point, reducing the time lost in doing so.
The winner of the Mt Ida Challenge was Ralph Street, a competitive orienteer from England who is in Australia working with Orienteering Victoria in Bendigo on a coaching program.
The female winner was Lanita Steer, a top Victorian orienteer who will be heading off to Switzerland in July to represent Australia at the world championships.
The fun continues all week with plenty of activities and events including a games night at Toolleen on Thursday, a Friday packed full of fun ahead of the Summer in the Parks screening of Gnomeo and Juliet at Barrack Reserve, the community parade at 10am on Saturday and pool carnivale, the Camp St and wacky races on Sunday.
For a full rundown of all the activities and events on offer, pick up a copy of the program at Heathcote IGA, Heathcote Visitor Information Centre, Connally’s Real Estate or Todd Property, or visit the games website at
I never thought five years ago that I would ever be standing here in Australia drinking Aussie beer, but being part of the games creates
expect.’ a lot of opportunities you don’t
— Dennis Kennedy
Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail and games senior ambassador Pam Boyes escorted Fazzi from Lake Weeroona to Heathcote at the
Mandalay Resources fun run poppet heads.
Vicki Forde, City of Greater Bendigo mayor Rod Fyffe, Dennis Kennedy, Sandra
Slatter and Laurie Kennedy.
Fazzi has some fun with local children in Bendigo at the official opening of the
Heathcote Community Games on Friday night.