The Riverine Herald - - FRONT PAGE - By Tyla Har­ring­ton

TWENTY-ONE ner­vous, sweaty men. Twenty-one cakes. Two CWA judges.

Ex­cept for Keith Hearn, who 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.

“I am proud our com­mu­nity has recog­nised this is­sue,” Cam­paspe Shire mayor Adrian We­ston said.

“This year’s event has been a cat­a­lyst for im­por­tant con­ver­sa­tions we need to have to raise aware­ness.”

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.

Insp. Owen en­cour­aged ev­ery­one to visit the White Rib­bon’s web­site for in­for­ma­tion.

‘‘Gain knowl­edge for with knowl­edge you gain power and through power you gain choice and con­fi­dence,’’ he said.

‘‘This sounds sim­plis­tic and there is no sim­ple so­lu­tion to do­mes­tic vi­o­lence but I want to en­sure vic­tims of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence that we are here to be­lieve you, to pro­tect you and to sup­port you.’’

Insp. Owen said po­lice were com­mit­ted to re­duc­ing the preva­lence of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and the sig­nif­i­cant harm per­pe­tra­tors cause their vic­tims.

‘‘We need to join to­gether and con­tinue to raise aware­ness and chal­lenge at­ti­tudes that sup­port vi­o­lence,’’ he said.

On a lighter note, tele­vi­sion pre­sen­ter and event MC Brad McEwan said the bake-off 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.

‘‘To­day is an­other way to make peo­ple aware that vi­o­lence against women will not be tol­er­ated in our com­mu­nity,’’ she said.

‘‘We were im­pressed, amazed, as­ton­ished and ut­terly blown away with the ar­ray of dif­fer­ent cakes and the stan­dard to which they were pro­duced.

‘‘We tasted healthy bars, chilli, choco­late, gin­ger, nec­tarine, cus­tard, fruit, car­rot, poppy seed, blue­berry, or­ange, ba­nana plus all the other things that went into those cakes.

‘‘We’re sure some men may have had a lit­tle as­sis­tance but how won­der­ful ev­ery­one could be in­volved in help­ing.’’

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.


Delia Currie, Heather Bradley, Athena Bradley-Mitchell and June Mill­gate cut the win­ning cake.

Jeff Rigby and Neil Pankhurst.

Un­cle Rick Ro­nan.

Jude, Jane and Clair.

Most of the men who com­peted in Cam­paspe Shire’s White Rib­bon event on Fri­day.

Ge­off Owen, Steve Tay­lor, Steve Shellew, Al­lan Fos­kett and Neil Hod­son.

Cam­paspe Shire bake-off winners Brad McEwan, Ja­son Rus­sell, Keith Hearn and Adrian We­ston.

Cam­paspe Shire mayor Adrian We­ston.

Tele­vi­sion pre­sen­ter and event MC Brad McEwan.

Cam­paspe po­lice In­spec­tor Ge­off Owen.

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