Off to a fly­ing start

McIvor Times - - FRONT PAGE - By BRON­WYN LUMS­DEN

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.

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