Christmas came early this year for Prep children at Berwick Primary School, thanks to Tennis Australia’s ANZ Tennis Hot Shots Schools Partnerships program.
A total of 150 Prep students were delighted to receive a brand new tennis racquet on Friday 21 April.
Prep teacher Helen Stewart who is also a member of the Berwick Tennis Club helped organise for the school to be a part of the program.
“It’s great to see the children out, doing sport and playing tennis,” she said.
Tennis Australia’s Schools Partnership Program aims to give children the opportunity to pick up a racquet and play tennis as part of their health and physical education curriculum.
ANZ Tennis Hot Shots ambassador and Australian Fed Cup Captain Alicia Molik said the program offered children and amazing opportunity.
She said 50,000 racquets had been delivered to children around the country since 2015.
“It’s fantastic to see so many tennis racquets in the hands of young children, which really encourages them to jump on the court for the first time,” Ms Molik said.
A program keeping Dandenong youths out of jail appears to have been given a lifeline.
The Journal reported on 21 April that Federal Government funding for not-for-profit Youthlaw would drop by $72,000 from 1 July – the cost of its outreach program.
But on Monday 24 April, Attorney-General George Brandis announced an extra $39 million over the next three years for Community Legal Centres as part of the 2017-’18 budget.
The funding allocation will be finalised with the states and territories under the National Partnership Agreement.
Youthlaw CEO Ariel Couchman welcomed the announcement.
“We still need to wait for the fine details, but the release does give us confidence that it does include the funding that we were to have cut,” she said.
“It’s awful thinking about having to cut back a service that was at a stage where it was really having a lot of impact, and it will only increase.”
Youthlaw outreach lawyer Karen Chibert told the Journal that the program had helped about 760 vulnerable young people during its two years, including about 50 in Dandenong and surrounds.
Youthlaw is based in the Melbourne CBD.
Ms Chibert travels to nine headspace and community centres across the state to connect with young people “who arguably wouldn’t otherwise receive assistance elsewhere”.
She said the service was specifically for vulnerable young people who were dealing with issues of drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness and homelessness.
Ms Chibert said young people who’d been assisted through the outreach program told Youthlaw they would have ended up in jail without it or would have racked up huge debt to fund a lawyer.
“What we do a lot is try to get young people on a diversionary program,” she said.
“It unclogs the court system.”
The Brandis announcement also marked a backflip on plans for a 30 per cent cut to Springvale Monash Legal Service next financial year.
Isaacs MP Mark Dreyfus said “some of our most vulnerable local residents” would have missed out on free legal advice as a result.
“Finally, after three years of campaigning, the Turnbull Government has admitted its mistake and reversed this funding cut to community legal centres,” he said.
For Berwick husband and wife Bob and Jean Halley-Frame, it started with a blind date to the local “picture theatre” in England.
Two years later, on 20 April 1957, the English-born couple married at Emmanuel Church, London.
Four generations of family graced the occasion of the pair’s 60th wedding anniversary at Cardinia Hotel, Beaconsfield, on Sunday 23 April.
“It was a pretty special day,” son Robert said.
“They like to be closer to home with their family and friends, their two kids, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.”
They had the extra thrill of receiving a congratulatory letter from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull – with the promise of further good tidings from Queen Elizabeth II in the post.
Bob, 87, and Jean, 82, remain in good health, living independently and regularly singing and keeping active at Narre Community Learning Centre.
They moved out to Australia with children Robert and Lesley in 1964 after Mr Halley-Frame spotted a local newspaper ad promising a better life down under.
Up to that point, Mr Halley-Frame had worked at Trebor sweets company, been stationed in Hong Kong and Ceylon with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Service and worked as a motor mechanic.
The Halley-Frames settled in Ascot Vale, then Caulfield and several other addresses in Melbourne’s south-east.
They are now retired in Berwick.
They are proud parents to Robert and Lesley, grandparents to Michael, Leigh, Sarah, David and Max and great-great grandparents to Poppy and Texen.
An Endeavour Hills green thumb has grown gasp-worthy gourds.
Antonio Maitino planted the near two metre-long zucchinis back in October after buying seeds from the Caribbean Gardens market for what he thought were standard zucchinis.
His daughter, Linda Angelakis, said it was the first time he’d tried his hand at growing them, and he’d cultivated six of the giant vegies.
“We didn’t think they were going to be that big,” she said.
“They ate some today and they said they tasted really good, so they’ll just give some out to family.”
Ms Angelakis said her dad had always grown his own produce.
“All our vegetables are all fresh; we hardly buy anything from the stores,” she said.
Mr Maitino grows another member of the zucchini family, dries them out and transforms them into ducks using paint.
“They’re a zucchini as well, but they grow big down the bottom and little at the top,” Ms Angelakis said.
Are you thinking about joining or starting a relay for life team to help raise funds for the Cancer Council, but don’t know where to start?
The Cranbourne-Narre Relay for Life is holding a launch night on 19 May and is inviting all established teams and any interested residents along to find out more about the event.
The launch will be far from a dry information evening and will include entertainment, food, door prizes, and interactive activities about the relay for life event.
Cranbourne-Narre Relay for Life volunteer committee member Brooke Hunter said the launch events were always informative but also a lot of fun.
“Every year our committee holds a launch event to inform teams of changes but we also hope teams will bring along people interested in joining,” she said.
“A lot of people have seen but not experienced the relay, so we make these launches fun and interactive and work as a team to bring new people in.”
Over the last five years, Cranbourne-Narre Relay for Life has raised $358,389 for cancer research and the 2017 fund-raising goal is set at $60,000 so the group is always looking for new participants.
“Invite your Relay for Life team and friends as the launch is guaranteed to be enjoyable and will ensure, together, we all will make Cranbourne-Narre 2017 Relay for Life a success,” Ms Hunter said.
“Committee members will also be sharing their experiences with this terrible illness and encourage others to do the same in our supportive atmosphere, but this is by no means compulsory.”
The Cranbourne-Narre Relay for Life launch will be held on Friday 19 May at 7.30pm at the Casey Fields Athletics Track.
The 2017 Cranbourne-Narre Relay for Life fund-raising major event is scheduled for 18 and 19 November.
Interested people who cannot attend the launch event but would still like to join the Cranbourne-Narre Relay For Life event can call 1300 65 65 85 or visit www.relayforlife.org.au.
It’s hard to imagine victory ever tasting sweeter than it did for the Vic Country girls at the Under-18 national basketball championships in Townsville on the weekend, and Pakenham’s Jaz Shelley played a pivotal part in the drought-breaking triumph.
Vic Country hadn’t won an Under-18 championship since 2000, and Shelley’s side picked one hell of a way to change that – winning by the narrowest of margins, 60-59, over South Australia Metro in an absolute thriller.
The Victorians were ahead by nine points with less than four minutes remaining in the contest before South Australia responded with an 8-0 run courtesy of Samantha Simons (15 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists) and Zoe Walker-Roberts.
There were no easy shots allowed by either side over the final two minutes, and Vic Country was held scoreless for the final four minutes and 33 seconds, but somehow, through sheer grit and determination, the Vics hung on for dear life to claim gold.
Shelley described the win as one of the best she’s been involved in – placing it just behind Australia’s Under-17 world championship win over the powerhouse United States last year.
“The most special thing about it was that we made history,” said Shelley of the Vic Country win, in which she finished with 13 points and 5 boards.
“It’s a pretty surreal feeling.”
Shelley said Vic Country’s performances in the games leading up to the decider were particularly strong, but the tension and cutthroat pressure of a national championship game had an impact on both teams.
“It just came down to who wanted it more,” she said.
Remarkably, Shelley had a cyst removed from her eyelid just before Vic Country’s quarter-final. It had been affecting her vision, and causing plenty of discomfort.
But that has faded into the background with the national title win.
“Most of us had been together as a group for four years, and this was our last chance to win together,” Shelley said.
“We had each other’s backs and we were just so determined to win.”
Speaking after the win, Vic Country coach Gerard Hillier could barely contain his joy at the result, and the performance from his side.
“We keep saying as a team that they’re country tough,” he said.
“There’s a lot of adversity going against them already – just to get to trainings and games and participate in these events – and it certainly toughens them up.
“They’ve shown that this week at this event and it’s a credit to them.
“We’re so happy for the players, managers and coaches from Vic Country who weren’t lucky enough to medal and this is for them as well – Vic Country is a great program and I’m really happy for all of them.”
Next up for Shelley is the tryouts for Australia’s Under-19 world championship team, which will compete in Italy mid-year.