Just like a Country Ballard.

Five years ago, on a blustery Wednesday night, 40 people gathered in the elderly Citizens hall in Yooringa Ave in Norlane, to listen to various adaptations of classic Country Music songs.  One of the couples there were Terry and Emmy Shelley.  Little did they know that singing along to various renditions of their favourite Country songs, would bring about a huge change in their lives as the Outgoing President was about to end the Music Clubs existence.  So, Terry put up his hand and Volunteered to become the new Club President with Emmy as his ‘Right-hand Girl’.

Country Music Club Terry2 (002)

Pre Covid, each Wednesday night this Non-for-Profit organisation gathered to sing along with the performers, share in a light supper, buy raffle tickets where you could win a variety of donated gifts such as a meat tray provided by Daniel from “A Cut Above Family Butcher” in Corio Village.  Once a month the Club would arrange a BBQ or Pizza night supplied by the money they made from the raffles and door entrance fee.  Membership is $10 per year which aids in the rent of the hall.  Often these weekly Country music get-togethers were the only social gathering a large number of the members had.

The Club often hired buses and took members to other clubs around Victoria to support other Country Music Clubs.  Through Facebook and regular phone calls ensures members are kept in touch with each other.

So how do you let 127 members of various ages, from diverse backgrounds and levels of health, scattered around Geelong, know that they are thought of when you are in the middle of a Covid-19 Lockdown?

One-night Terry and Emmy were discussing the Club and began worrying about their members, when a random thought transformed into a discussion with the Vice President- Kevin Field and Secretary Cheryl Murray, which morphed into 70+ meal packs being delivered to members of the Country Music Club.  Each pack comprises of a combination of 3 meats (lamb, chicken, pork) and vegetables (potatoes, onions, broccoli and carrots).  With this pack it ensures each recipient has a meal of fresh vegetables and meats and are not under any undue financial strain for at least a few meals and are reminded that people care.  These meals are dropped off by volunteer drivers who leave the packs at the front door.  A smile and wave from the window as the cars drive away ensures everyone is abiding by Victorian Stage 3 Lockdown restriction.

In previous years, through funds raised from their weekly gatherings, the Club has donated money to Andrew Love Cancer Centre, the Geelong Hospital Children’s ward which bought a bed, donated money to the Peter Mac Cancer Centre in Melbourne, donated money to the Gippsland Fire Brigade during our worst fires at the start of this year, and have helped numerous people who have been facing battles with cancer, poverty and illness.  Each able-bodied member has put their hand up to help Terry, Kevin, Cheryl and Emmy to create a supportive, successful, caring and nurturing environment.  A little gem in the Northern Suburbs.

Story: Sally Smith. Picture courtesy of PSP43.