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Kyabram Free Press - - NEWS -

Fill in the grid so that every col­umn, every row and every 3x3 box con­tains the dig­its 1 through 9. There is no math in­volved. You solve each puz­zle with rea­son­ing and logic. Each puz­zle only has one so­lu­tion. TWENTY-ONE ner­vous, sweaty men. Twenty-one cakes. Two CWA judges.

Make that 20 ner­vous en­trants, be­cause Keith Hearn was qui­etly con­fi­dent his spec­tac­u­lar three tier, 12-layer con­fec­tion would take out the in­au­gu­ral Cam­paspe Shire White Rib­bon bake-off on Fri­day — and he was right.

The vet­eran ama­teur baker wasn’t just com­pet­ing to in­crease pub­lic aware­ness of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, for him win­ning the first bake-off was a bit­ter­sweet mo­ment.

Be­cause he had also ded­i­cated his mas­ter­piece to Michelle, the mother of their chil­dren and his in­spi­ra­tion, who died sud­denly four years ago.

At which point Keith just couldn’t get back to bak­ing be­tween look­ing af­ter his chil­dren and miss­ing his wife.

“I loved be­ing a part of it and get­ting that mes­sage out there – that vi­o­lence against women is not OK,” he said. As for the cake, Keith filled it with love.

“It had choco­late, cher­ries, white ganache, dark choco­late ganache, cream cheese fill­ing, red vel­vet cake, white choco­late mud cake, dark choco­late mud cake and sugar gar­nish on top along with a fon­dant white rib­bon,” he added, rolling his recipe right off his tongue.

That white rib­bon was the rea­son so many peo­ple gath­ered for the spe­cial morn­ing tea over­look­ing the Murray River.

Dur­ing his speech to a good crowd, Cam­paspe po­lice In­spec­tor Ge­off Owen said there were more than 500 cases of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence recorded in Cam­paspe dur­ing the 2016-17 fi­nan­cial year.

“Those cases are your neigh­bours, friends, fam­ily mem­bers, shop keep­ers, cus­tomers, peo­ple you pass on the street, so­cialise among and play sport with,” Insp. Owen said.

“Do­mes­tic vi­o­lence knows no bound­aries – from the rich to the poor, from the af­flu­ent and big homes to the home­less with few pos­ses­sions.

‘‘I make no apol­ogy if my words makes you feel un­com­fort­able or squirm,’’ he said af­ter nam­ing a long list of women be­lieved to have been killed by their male part­ners.

On a lighter note, tele­vi­sion pre­sen­ter and event MC Brad McEwan said the bake­off was big­ger than MasterChef.

‘‘I have it on good au­thor­ity one com­peti­tor of­fered (the judge) Delia (Cur­rie) a bribe and I know that be­cause that com­peti­tor was me and it didn’t work,’’ he laughed.

Delia said it was an hon­our to judge so many cakes for such an im­por­tant is­sue.

‘‘We were im­pressed, amazed, as­ton­ished and ut­terly blown away with the ar­ray of dif­fer­ent cakes,’’ she said.

But rest as­sured, it was no easy job to pick the win­ner, Delia stressed.

‘‘As per any com­pe­ti­tion there can only be one win­ner with sev­eral nearly there win­ners,’’ she said. And they were: First: Keith Hearn; sec­ond: Cam­paspe Shire chief ex­ec­u­tive Ja­son Rus­sell and his nec­tarine fruit cake; third: Brad McEwan and his chilli spicy cake; and en­cour­age­ment award: Cam­paspe Shire mayor Adrian Weston and his choco­late mud­cake.

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