Men’s shed stal­wart says good­bye

Alpine Observer - - News -

UN­DER the trees in front of the Angli­can Church in the cen­tre of town, the Bright United Men’s Shed held their an­nual book sale last Fri­day and Saturday.

Now in its ninth year, the sale has been an on­go­ing suc­cess for the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

The book sale was the brain­child of mem­ber Graeme Mor­ris, who came up with the idea as a way of pay­ing back a $20,000 loan the Shed needed when it was first built.

At the time, the or­gan­i­sa­tion had re­ceived a hefty grant to build a shed, but in the two years it took to find land to build on, steel prices dou­bled, and while the orig­i­nal money paid for the shed, an­other $20,000 was re­quired to fit it out.

Now, af­ter years in charge of the book sale, Graeme Mor­ris is step­ping back, as he and his wife Kath­leen move on from Bright to Be­nalla af­ter 21 years of com­mu­nity ser­vice and in­volve­ment.

Graeme first came to Bright in 1997 as a po­lice­man.

Sit­ting in­side the Angli­can Church as the book sale was packed up on Saturday af­ter­noon, he told the Alpine Ob­server he al­ways had an eye to move out this way, and at a cer­tain age, he started to want a “qui­eter en­vi­ron­ment.”

“Com­ing over here was like go­ing from bed­lam into par­adise,” he said.

Not one to iso­late him­self,sGraeme walked the streets as a po­lice of­fi­cer, in­clud­ing the parks late at night, and to­gether with youth of­fi­cer Al­lan J Findlay got to know teenagers and young peo­ple, bridg­ing the gen­er­a­tional and au­thor­ity gap and cre­at­ing a sense of unity within the town.

He said there was a pe­riod of two years where there were sim­ply no is­sues with teenagers or young peo­ple at all.

Over the years, Graeme has been in­volved with the His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety, has served as the sec­re­tary of the Bright RSL, and up un­til a med­i­cal is­sue pre­vented him only 12 months ago, played the tuba in the Wodonga Brass Band.

Af­ter re­tir­ing from the po­lice force, Graeme be­came part of the Men’s Shed, and has seen the group grow and de­velop.

“The Shed has been very, very re­ward­ing,” he said.

“There are a lot of in­tan­gi­bles that you don’t re­alise un­til you’ve been a mem­ber. It is a sort of male bond­ing and friend­ship,”

“If you can see peo­ple who come to the shed now…we’ve even got a few wid­ow­ers, and you can see them com­ing out of their shells af­ter six months. You can see a huge dif­fer­ence.”

Aside from pro­vid­ing a space for men to meet, the Shed has col­lec­tive projects. It gives mem­bers a com­mu­nity and a pur­pose, and even has var­i­ous health ini­tia­tives.

Eight years ago the Shed ar­ranged prostate checks for mem­bers. Graeme ad­mit­ted he had zero will­ing­ness to drop his pants and al­low a doc­tor to do ‘that’, but luck­ily, he was con­vinced.

He was di­ag­nosed with prostate cancer, and the prompt treat­ment he re­ceived saved his life.

With Graeme’s de­par­ture, mem­ber Frank To­maino is now in charge of the book sale, which, de­spite scorch­ing heat on Fri­day and spo­radic show­ers on Saturday, raised nearly $3000.

Out the front of the church we stopped to take a photo of Graeme with some of his mates from the Shed.

“I’ve got good friends here. I’ll miss it,” he said.

“For any­one I haven’t caught up with, if this ar­ti­cle gets in the pa­per, con­sider this a good­bye.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.