New life for bikes

Warragul & Drouin Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

Eighty two year old Bun­yip res­i­dent Les Abre­hart who lives at the Hil­lview In­de­pen­dent Liv­ing Units com­plex has been restor­ing bi­cy­cles for the past five years and do­nat­ing them to the Bun­yip and Garfield Com­mu­nity Shops for sale.

The bikes have been sold at fford­able prices with all of the money go­ing back into the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

Les took an in­ter­est in re­pair­ing bikes about 25 years ago when his grand­son, Dale Wilkin­son, a stu­dent at Ber­wick Sec­ondary Col­lege was part of a HPV (Hu­man Pow­ered Ve­hi­cles) stu­dent team.

The team won the State Sec­ondary School Cham­pi­onship com­pe­ti­tion in build­ing a HPV

Once it be­came known that Les was restor­ing bikes for char­ity he has never been short of bikes need­ing re­pair.

He of­ten has lo­cals drop bikes off for him to “fix up”. Oc­ca­sion­ally his eye will spy a “gem” on a front lawn be­fore a hard waste col­lec­tion.

He has so many old bikes and bike parts that there is no room to store them in his shed at the unit. He stores these in a pad­dock on his eight hectare prop­erty and goes there to re­trieve parts as needed for a bike he’s restor­ing.

Les scratches his head and raises his eye­brows when asked how many bikes he has do­nated over those five years.

He comes up with a round fig­ure of about 100 but it is prob­a­bly a con­ser­va­tive es­ti­mate.

He spends on av­er­age about 10 hours per week restor­ing bikes. Many hours are spent daily with his wife Heather who is a res­i­dent at Hil­lview. The cou­ple will celebrate their diamond wed­ding an­niver­sary in April.

Les has al­ways been com­mu­nity minded. In his younger years he was a scout leader at Dove­ton/Hal­lam.

He trans­ported peo­ple in his own ve­hi­cle to and from med­i­cal ap­point­ments as part of the Bun­yip Red Cross Trans­port Sys­tem.

Both he and Heather are Life Mem­bers of the Hal­lam Fire Brigade. Whilst a mem­ber of the Bun­yip Fire Brigade, Les was awarded the Queen’s Fire Brigade Medal.

Les re­stores a bike be­fore do­nat­ing it to a com­mu­nity shop to aid the Bun­yip and Garfield com­mu­ni­ties.

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