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Rowan says this bantam would have caught the judge’s eye

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When the news that Singleton Show would not go ahead this year, there was a wave of disappointment across the community.  The tradition of the show is something the community just loves.  The Hunter River Times decided it should not pass by without giving recognition to the band of volunteers who deliver this wonderful event to the community and what better way than to celebrate the champions of the show, the ribbon winners. 

BY DI SNEDDON

Rowan Vallance says it’s the mates he has made as much as the competition that he enjoys about showing his prize winning birds.

At 23 years of age, showing poultry at agricultural shows around the country is something Rowan Vallance has been doing since he was 11.

He is one of many who miss the camaraderie that Singleton Show delivers and admits he is disappointed not to be entering his Peking Bantams and Orpingtons in the poultry section this year.

Traditionally, this time of year would have absorbed every waking moment for Rowan.

This year he would have assisted Richard Marshall with the beef cattle section, served in the bar on the Friday and Saturday night and entered as many as 20 or 30 birds in the show.

Each bird requires a wash and a blow dry before a show, a job that takes about 30 minutes for each bird, so needless to say had the show gone ahead, our Rowan would not have had any time for an interview with The Hunter River Times.

Despite the work involved, Rowan admits he is quite sad that the show could not go ahead but says it is as much the camaraderie with other people as the competition itself that he misses most.

He breeds Peking Bantams and Orpingtons and has as many as 70 adults and 90 chickens on his family’s Lower Belford property.

He always has his eye out for a potential best of breed and says he can usually tell a ribbon winner fairly early on.

After winning Bird of Show at Maitland in July, he was reasonably confident he’d find success at Singleton Show this year and the Pekin Bantam in his hands in the photo may have been just the bird to take out first prize.

Education

Alex spreads the Where There’s a Will Message

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BY JEM ANSHAW

Alex Bates has this month started his HSC exams at St Joseph’s High School Aberdeen and has a whole new outlook on what lays ahead thanks to being a part of Where There’s A Will.

Last year Alex Bates was one of four students from his school selected to attend a National Leadership Summit in Adelaide along with other local students from Merriwa Central, Muswellbrook High, Scone High and Scone Grammar schools.

“At that summit we got to learn the importance of our mental health and wellbeing,” he said.

“As well as how each person is individually unique and displays a range of different character strengths that we can use in everyday life to bring about positive change, in and out of school.”

Local students stayed connected with their peers and became responsible for putting in place activities or programs in their own school to keep spreading the message of wellbeing.

At St Josephs they ran a fundraising auction selling the teachers to students for a day, in an effort to improve the relationships between students and staff.

All proceeds from the event were put towards the annual All Starts program to help cover catering and supplies.

Alex credits his success in being appointed a school captain and getting a Bengalla Scholarship to skills he gained with Where there’s A Will.

“Where There’s A Will has helped me develop those communication skills that I wouldn’t have necessarily developed,” he said.

“I wouldn’t have had that outgoing compassion towards other people to an extent that I do now.”

Alex has already received offers for university and is deciding between studying nursing or journalism.

“When I go off to university I hope to talk about Where There’s A Will and bring that to Uni and have that support network continue through,” he said.

“Where There’s A Will has helped me want to be a positive role model in the community in and out of school.”

Helping Little Kids Too

There are 16 early education centres in the Upper Hunter that have taken part in training offered by Where There’s A Will, one of which is Little Kindy in Muswellbrook.

In May last year educators from the centre attended training in Scone where they learned how to identify and then embrace the character strengths of students at the centre.

“Every child is born with 24 strengths, we just have to identify their top strengths and identify some they don’t use as much and you can work together to balance them out,” educator Steph Hallett said.

“You can use it in everyday language and then ask the children what they think that strength means so you know it is embedding in the children as well.”

When they heard about the training there was nothing to consider about taking part for the team at Little Kindy.

“As soon as I saw it, I felt like it would help the next generation be brought up in a more positive way, it offers a way to be able to self-regulate emotion and have a sense of belonging,” Ms Hallett said.

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Sun shines on Luke Hughes Memorial Golf Day

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A total of 56 golfers gathered at Singleton this morning to unite for a special cause.

The inaugural Luke Hughes Memorial Golf Day has been organised to remember a local Singleton man who was loved by many.

He passed away on October 9, 2019 at the age of 31.

“This day has been in the works for the last couple of months,” co-organiser Bonny Fordham said on behalf of co-organisers Paul Chandler, Brad Young, Mitchell Nott and Jason Fordham.

LOTS OF LAUGHS: Dianne Hughes could not help but laugh at her misfortunes on the green this morning.

“The boys were like brothers, they were so close and today is a great day for them to all gather in honour of Luke.”

Heavy rain and a small hailstorm on the eve of the event clouded whether the day would go on.

However, the nostalgic weather brought back a large amount of memories.

“Every time that Luke went camping it rained,” she added.

“So even if the rain continued, we would have still been out there wearing raincoats and gumboots and snorkels.

“It would have been a typical Luke Hughes camping day.”

The sponsors of the day include Hunter Valley Hydraulink, Arrow Heritage Solutions, Imprint Vinyl, MacPherson Built, Smiths Smash Repairs, Riley Young and Associates, DK Heavy Plant Services, Hunter Engineering and Fabricating, NRMA Insurance and Domino’s Pizza.

Danny Bernal from Pink Donkey photography to voluntarily cover the event.

For crisis support, please contact Lifeline at lifeline.org.au or 13 11 14, and Beyond Blue at beyondblue.org.au and 1300 22 4636.

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Low energy lighting upgrade for Singleton Hospital

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BY DI SNEDDON

Singleton Hospital has completed a major lighting upgrade project following an additional donation from the Bloomfield Group Foundation.

The recent $10,000 donation from the Foundation followed a $20,000 donation made earlier this year, and provided funding for a project to replace all existing lighting at the hospital.

The shift to low energy LED lighting will result in electricity cost savings of more than $200,000 over 10 years.

Singleton Hospital Health Service Manager Wendy Mason-Jones could not be happier.

“The Singleton Health Service LED light replacement project is an excellent example of corporate citizenship. The collaboration with The Bloomfield Group has expedited an essential part of the Singleton Health Services’ energy saving scheme to significantly improve lighting for clinical areas, reduce waste and costs,” Ms Mason-Jones said.

“This is an efficient, green, collaborative venture which offers long term advantages for our community health.”

Brendon Clements, Operations Manager at The Bloomfield Group owned Rix’s Creek Mine said hundreds of their employees from across our operations live in Singleton, and it’s tremendous to have the opportunity to support projects that directly benefit our local community.

For further information about The Bloomfield Group Foundation visit www.bloomcoll.com.au/foundation.

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