Boolarra Stompers – Winners of the “The Spirit of the Relay” trophy – Dec. 2010

This event is run annually to raise money to support cancer sufferers and to fund Research into the different types of cancer and we all know there are too many of those. We would all like to see a cure for cancer.
It was a privilege to Captain such a wonderful team. The team that wouldn’t stop growing! We thought 20 people in the team would be great, but by the day of the Relay there were 54 registered members. Most of those were from Boolarra and surrounds, some from Melbourne, some from Traralgon and 13 from the Latrobe Valley Buslines. The Buslines left a bus at the oval for our use and it came in handy especially when the tents had to be taken down for safety reasons when the weather soured around midnight on Saturday.
During Saturday afternoon there were fun competitions conducted every hour. A goal kicking comp, egg and spoon race – at which Pam Warren and Rachel Pearce excelled. Fiona had a go at spaghetti eating and Natalie Roy blitzed all the younger entrants in the dry Wheat Bix Eating competition. Go Nat! There was also had hourly trivia quiz and live music was on the go to keep the momentum going. The committee had done a good job with all the organising.
We were able to put together a great roster which meant if we spread our times out properly we could have lots of breaks in between our laps. It worked very well until the middle of the Saturday night when the weather really roughed up and the organisers decided it was too dangerous to continue, so we ended a bit early. You can’t pick the weather. Still, it was a lot of fun.
When Colin and Sam came in at midnight they found they had to take down the tents instead of walking and then call it a day (or night). Fiona, Marlene and myself stayed the whole 24 hours. Thanks for your company. Had lots of laughs.
The total money raised by all the teams that took part was over $100,000.
Thorpy Blues got the trophy for raising the most money. Boolarra Stompers raised just over $5,000. I don’t have the exact figure at this time as all our deposit and receipt books had to be handed in for checking. We were still getting money into our team tally at the last minute before the Closing Ceremony thanks to Roger and his efforts on the phone Saturday night.
Other fund raisers included Raffles, Trivia Night, Car Boot Sale and guessing the lollies in the jars as well as some very welcome donations. Most of us want to get into the spirit again for the next Relay which will be in November next year so already the cogs are turning for raising more for this worthwhile cause.
It was an incredible experience really. About 20 other teams from throughout the Valley gathered at the oval at Gaskin Park, Churchill – ending up with about 300 relay members taking part. Unfortunately because of the poor weather we didn’t have many spectators, however you wouldn’t have know it because of the number of participants and their support crews. There always looked to be a good crowd present. There was ample food available at a low cost and the breakfast on the Sunday morning was superb and plentiful.

Gwenda Pither after accepting the ‘Spirit of the Relay’ trophy.

One of the things that will stick in my mind for a long time is the dedication of our team members. Even when the event was stopped because of the weather, the early shift arrived on Sunday morning ready to walk, and did so for their rostered time. Now that’s dedication and I believe is part of the reason we came away with the award for the Spirit of the Relay. It was the first time this award had been part of the Event and the trophy is taking pride of place at the Post Office for all to see. Our banner, which was put together by Libby Robertson and decorated with all the little shoes and ribbons which Fiona Grima sourced on the internet, and our fantastic Batton, which was generously made by Geoff Dunkley are also on display. Why would anybody not be happy with all that we had going for us.
The support of the community here was fantastic to say the least. Without your support it wouldn’t have been the great success it was for us. So a big thank you to you all.
Looking forward to the next one in 2011, so come in and register with me if you wish or you can also register on-line. Have a go. You too may just enjoy the challenge.

Boolarra Stompers – Never say never!
Have a safe and healthy Christmas and all the best for 2011.
Gwenda Pither