Tag Archives: Good Friday Appeal

Will gives back to the life savers

GOOD FRIDAY is a special day on the calendar for Warrandyte CFA volunteer Firefighter Will Hodgson.
It is the day he gets to give back to the place that saved his life.
Will told the Bulletin that if it were not Paediatric Surgeon Nate Myers at the Royal Children’s Hospital, he would not be here today.
Born with a diaphragmatic hernia, Will’s initial prognosis was not good.
“It means that there were a whole heap of organs sitting in my lungs,” he said.
He said even today it is a technical operation, but in 1976 “it was a huge deal”.
Born in Box Hill Hospital, the doctors there struggled to keep Will alive.
“Every time they took me off a ventilator, I just dropped my bundle,” he said.
He said Box Hill admitted it was beyond them so, while Will’s mother Debbie stayed on the Maternity ward at Box Hill, Will’s father Ian went with him to the Mercy to try and get some answers.
The Mercy too ran out of ideas, telling Ian that Will was not going to make it.
“They asked him if I wanted to be baptised,” said Will.
Eventually, Mr Nate Myers from the Royal Children’s was called in to take a look and told Ian that he had an idea of what was wrong with his baby son.
“I went to the Children’s and, thanks to Mr Myers, I came out the other side healthy”.
Will spent the next six months at the Children’s and then next five years with follow up appointments, travelling in from North Warrandyte.
Will said that he is grateful for the life that the Children’s Hospital has given him.
“The best thing for me is to acknowledge the sun going up in the morning and going down at night, because you have been lucky enough to be given a life — through one specialist who has been able to identify it — and so now I am here.”
Will has since dedicated his life to helping others.
Following the Pound Bend Fires in 1991, at the age of just 15, Will decided to volunteer with the North Warrandyte Fire Brigade and then when he started his own family he moved across the river to Warrandyte, and transferred to Warrandyte CFA.
From the start, he made it a priority to get out to shake tins for the Good Friday Appeal, and when North Warrandyte didn’t shake tins, he went out with South Warrandyte.
“I jumped across to South Warrandyte to shake tins, with Mark Kennedy and Greg Kennedy, and I do remember us being underage, but we were shaking the tin and that is all that mattered,” he said.
Will has collected money each year since, and even last year when restrictions made it impossible to shake tins, Warrandyte CFA set up a virtual tin shake, raising around $4,500 for the RCH.
“I think the online collection was a good thing, because when Warrandyte shakes a tin, it shakes a tin in Bulleen, so we are just picking up commuters, but being online gave an opportunity for the Warrandyte community, if they wanted, to donate through the Warrandyte Fire Brigade.”
They will have the best of both worlds this year, with the virtual tin shake online while brigades will be out collecting at intersections across Manningham: Warrandyte at Bulleen and Manningham Roads, North Warrandyte at Reynolds and Blackburn Roads, and South Warrandyte at Mitcham and Springvale Roads.
So, if you are out and about on Good Friday, chip in for a great cause, and if you are not, hop online to give to “the kids”.

CFA still there for community

In these crazy and weird times that is COVID-19, many organisations and businesses are finding ways to adapt and remain relevant.

Warrandyte CFA is no different.

Despite all events, face-to-face meetings and weekly training being cancelled, the volunteers down at the station are finding new ways to adapt to isolation.

With the “stay at home” campaign in full force, the brigade is experiencing a downturn in call outs.

Community Safety Officer, Rebecca-Leigh Dawson said: “The community is being careful and doing the right thing”.

But rest assured, the volunteers down at the station are still here for you.

They are still working hard behind the scenes to ensure they are ready for any emergencies.

Captain of Warrandyte CFA, Adrian Mullens, highlighted the need for the volunteers to stay connected and continue to upskill.

He said, “The brigade management team continue to hold meetings online via Zoom, ensuring all operational needs of the station are being met.”

“We’re also maintaining a focus of member wellbeing and have assigned a select group of officers to remain in touch with all our volunteers,” he said.

The volunteers continue to train in whatever capacity they can.

There are multiple opportunities, from online training programmes available from CFA corporate, to joining in with CFA Group area led lessons.

But it doesn’t stop there.

The officers of Warrandyte CFA have taken it upon themselves to prepare localised training, designed for the unique characteristics of Warrandyte.

The interactive online tailored workshops include local infrastructure with specific maps, details of existing sprinkler and booster systems of sites around town such as the schools.

Warrandyte’s 1st Lieutenant, Will Hodgson said: “Our volunteers aren’t necessarily skilled in training preparation, so to undertake this task in preparing lessons for their fellow members in their own time is extraordinary”.

The training is attended by the Captain, Lieutenants, Officers and firefighters — offering plenty of opportunities for the members to effectively learn as a team.

“The adapted training is thorough with detailed framework, quality images, and thought-provoking questions,” Will said.

But it’s not just training and meetings, the team at Warrandyte CFA remain committed to providing educational resources as well as supporting some much-loved annual events.

The unprecedented challenge of the CFA being unable to shake their tins for the Good Friday Appeal, was quickly transformed to an online fundraising portal by the Royal Children’s Hospital.

A Virtual Tin Shake became the platform and the team down at the station were keen to ensure they could still help raise funds for the kids.

202 Victorian CFA brigades raised a total of $195,000 for the appeal, with Warrandyte CFA contributing a collection of $4,290 from our supportive community.

Warrandyte CFA’s efforts placed them second on the urban brigades leader board.

Will Hodgson, who has personally experienced the exceptional services of the Royal Children’s Hospital with his own children.

“I’m proud of what our members have achieved for the appeal.

“To raise more than we normally would in these unprecedented times is credit to the team’s unbreakable comradery and spirit”.

In these unpredictable times, your CFA volunteers are still here for you.

Warrandyte CFA’s members continue to undertake the groundwork to ensure they continue to be prepared to service Warrandyte.

The brigade wishes to express their appreciation to the Warrandyte community for supporting their volunteers in their efforts.



Fireball delayed


IT IS NO SURPRISE with all the uncertainty going on, this year’s Fireball event will be postponed.

The Fireball committee is mindful that so many businesses are struggling and respectfully recognises that it is not the right time to seek sponsorships and donations.

Chair of the Fireball Committee, Michelle Lambert said “With everything so uncertain, it’s not possible that they will be back on their feet and ready to support anything other than rebuilding their businesses by October”.

“Hopefully, by this time next year things will be improving, and people will be getting ready to celebrate and move forward” she said.

But there is good news.

Fireball is delighted to share that their extremely generous major sponsor; Bramleigh Estate, Warrandyte’s newest wedding venue, will continue to support a reschedule of this wonderful community event.

This means  Fireball is still able to maximise the profits being donated to the Greater Warrandyte CFA’s.

“Mary-Anne from Bramleigh, is the gift that keeps on giving” Michelle said.

“Considering the current climate, to still host Fireball free of charge, is an incredible demonstration of Bramleigh giving back to the Warrandyte community”.

Fireball made a commitment to the volunteers of the Wonga Park Fire Brigade to facilitate the purchase of a new light tanker.

Together with Bramleigh, the committee intend to follow through on their promise in 2021.

The event has been rebooked for Friday, October 22, 2021.

Fireball will continue to keep the community informed on event updates, all opportunities and ticket sales as we move through the aftermath of COVID-19.

Captain of Wonga Park CFA, Aaron Farr said: “We are ever so grateful for Fireball and Bramleigh’s continued support to honour the original offer, in light of the delay caused by COVID-19 and the tough financial environment”.

The Fireball Committee looks forward to resuming event preparations in 2021, to support the volunteers of CFA.

To keep updated on event announcements, the community can register their information at