Com­mu­nity at heart of event

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Front Page - BY LOTTE REITER

Sites are marked, tents are up, and the Speed Lions Club’s 41st Mallee Ma­chin­ery Field Days event is only days away.

The two-day agri­cul­ture show­case, on July 31 and Au­gust 1, has come a long way from its hum­ble be­gin­nings in the pad­docks of re­gional farm­ers in Yar­ri­ambi­ack Shire.

The first event in 1979 fea­tured fewer than 40 ex­hibitors.

Now, about 8500 in­ter­state and re­gional vis­i­tors ven­ture to the site off the Sun­raysia High­way near Speed town­ship each year to take in the ma­chin­ery and equipment on dis­play at up to 350 ex­hibits.

Mallee Ma­chin­ery Field Days is an op­por­tu­nity for farm­ers and in­dus­try mem­bers to learn about and eval­u­ate what is on of­fer, and a so­cial place for mates to ‘catch up’.

But for Speed Lions Club mem­bers, be­hind it all is a chance to sup­port their com­mu­nity.

Mallee Ma­chin­ery Field Days com­mit­tee pres­i­dent and Speed Lions Club mem­ber Terry Kiley said giv­ing back to the com­mu­nity was at the heart of all in­volved.

Mallee Ma­chin­ery Fields Days started as, and still is, a way to raise money for the Speed Lions Club so it can pro­vide a ‘help­ing hand to those in need’.

From hos­pi­tal and church do­na­tions to fam­i­lies that might be strug­gling fi­nan­cially or with ill chil­dren, mem­bers said money raised at the Field Days re­turned to its re­gional com­mu­nity ‘one way or an­other’.

And it is this com­mu­nity that gives its sup­port right back, with or­gan­i­sa­tions, schools and sport­ing groups work­ing along­side the club each year to as­sist with the run­ning and cater­ing of the event.

Past club pres­i­dent Kevin Emon­son said Mallee Ma­chin­ery Field Days ‘wouldn’t sur­vive without the com­mu­nity’.

“In this part of the world you have got to do a lot of chook raf­fles to raise $1000,” he said.

“So, we thank ev­ery­one who has sup­ports us.

“There are only 24 club mem­bers, there would not be a hope in hell we could run it all alone. It is hard in a way, but I think the field days is some­thing peo­ple like to be in­volved in.

“Peo­ple don’t mind sup­port­ing it be­cause they know it’s help­ing the com­mu­nity, that is what it is for.

“We try to sup­port as many lo­cal things as we can and it’s great see­ing what the com­mu­nity gets out of it.

“A cou­ple of times we have had fam­i­lies who have chil­dren with can­cer, and be­cause the field days have been so suc­cess­ful, we are able to sup­port them.”

Mr Kiley said the club, be­ing a small vol­un­teer ‘dis­trict’ group, ran the risk of burn-out, which was why com­mu­nity sup­port was so im­por­tant to the club and its event.

“We’d like to get more mem­bers, but it is pretty sparse out here and peo­ple seem to be just too busy,” he said.

“It is usu­ally the same peo­ple who are in­volved in the clubs like this that are in­volved at schools or sport­ing clubs. We just have to keep ap­proach­ing peo­ple.”

Re­gard­less, mem­bers said the sat­is­fac­tion from their hard work was well worth the ef­fort.

Com­mit­tee sec­re­tary An­drew Mclean has been in the role for 11 years, and a mem­ber of Speed Lions Club for about 16 years.

He said al­though the event was time-con­sum­ing, be­ing able to help the com­mu­nity and form bonds along the way out­weighed it all.

“It is a sense of achieve­ment, it puts a smile on the dial,” he said

Peo­ple can visit the 2019 Mallee Ma­chin­ery Field Days be­tween 8.30am and 5pm on both days.

Or­gan­is­ers have re­quested cash only at the gate.

LEADER: Mallee Ma­chin­ery Field Days com­mit­tee pres­i­dent and Speed Lions Club mem­ber Terry Kiley.

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