Last February, Woodend CFA 1st Lieutenant was on a Strike Team in Kinglake in the days after Black Saturday. As he runs his own business, he had to keep in touch with his clients at New Caledonia Tourism to let them know he was going to be on CFA duty at this time, having also been involved in the fires that threatened Woodend and Daylesford just a few days earlier. They were so touched by what was happening in Victoria through this tragic time that they decided to offer a prize to be used to raise funds for the Woodend CFA.
The prize was valued at more than $8,000 and included return domestic and international airfares to the tropical island paradise of New Caledonia, transfers, insurance, 5 nights accommodation at 5 Star Le Meridien resorts in Noumea and the Isle of Pines, as well as $1,000 spending money from the ANZ Bank.
Raising funds for all Mt Macedon Group brigades
"We decided to broaden our horizons and run the raffle to raise funds for all CFA Brigades in the Mt Macedon Group" Mike said. So proceeds were agreed to be shared amongst the CFA Brigades in Woodend, Gisborne, Macedon, Mt Macedon, Newham, Hesket-Kerrie, Riddells Creek and Bullengarook. He added that "all brigades were involved in all of the major fires at the time, and many volunteers gave up their valuable time, so we decided to share the funds we raise with all of the brigades".
Nearly $23,000 was raised
All Brigades did a fantastic job in selling tickets and just under $23,000 was raised, to be distributed amongst the eight brigades in the Mt Macedon group. Some individual members also did a fantastic job, with Woodend members Andrew and Julie Wilson-Annan and Paul Burgess raising around $2,000 and $1,000 respectively.
The Woodend Brigade intends to use the funds to go towards a replacement for their ageing Tanker 2. The CFA provides the Woodend Brigade with several of their important vehicles, and the majority of their equipment, however more than half of their fleet of vehicles is actually wholly or partly funded by the brigade itself. Hence the importance of raising funds to maintain the best fleet possible.
"Our Tanker 2 has given the community excellent service over the last 10 years", commented Mike, "but the time has come for it to be upgraded. Our goal is to replace it with a state-of-the-art new twin cab tanker, which will cost approximately $300,000".
Congratulations Diane Johnstone
The draw took place at Woodend CFA on Sunday November 29, with Macedon Ranges MP Joanne Duncan drawing the lucky winner.
"It was fantastic that a local won the prize," added Mike. "We sold tickets to people from right around the state, but only one person could naturally win the prize. When the winning ticket came out it was Diane Johnstone from Woodend who will be heading off in the next 12 months to beautiful New Caledonia".