RELATED: Relay spirit shines in print
THREE Wimmera women synonymous with the region’s Relay For Life events are the first inductees to a new hall of fame.
The Horsham and District Relay For Life committee established the hall of fame to honour those who had made outstanding contributions to the relay since it started in 2001.
Rene Vivian, Lyn Smith and Dawn Hobbs were inducted at an event in Horsham on Saturday night.
Two teams – Willing Walkers and Team Marcos – were also inducted, as was the Wimmera Mail-Times.
The relay committee called for hall of fame nominations earlier this year. A sub-committee then assessed the nominations.
Horsham and District Relay For Life chairmanager Kingsley Dalgleish said it was not an easy process for the group.
“They feel they have identified a small group of people who have helped make relay what it is today,” he said.
Mrs Smith was heavily involved in organising the Terry Fox Run, an annual Cancer Council Victoria event that preceded Relay For Life.
She was also a driving force in getting teams involved in the first relay.
Mrs Hobbs also organised the Fox Run, and helped initiate Relay For Life in the region.
She still fundraises for Cancer Council Victoria through raffles and organising old-time dances in Horsham.
Mrs Vivian has been a long-serving member of the relay committee and has actively promoted the event for many years.
She instigated the Paint the Town Purple initiative, which won a state award for innovation in 2011.
She was also Cancer Council’s volunteer of the year in 2014.
Hall of fame committee chairman Justin Amor said the three had put an incredible amount of time, effort and energy into the relay throughout many years.
“I think it meant a lot to them and their families to be recognised in this way,” he said. “It was a really special thing for the three of them to be together again and share their stories.
“The fact that they took that leap from the Fox Run to back the idea of Relay For Life – which was a new concept in Australia at that time – was a brave decision.”
Team Marcos and Mrs Smith’s Willing Walkers became the first teams to be inducted into the hall of fame.
Willing Walkers were part of the original relay and participated in every event until last year.
Team Marcos, formerly Team Coles, has raised more than $200,000 for Cancer Council Victoria through their Relay For Life efforts.
The Wimmera Mail-Times was the first business inducted into the hall of fame, in honour of its contribution to relay throughout the past several years.
Mr Amor said Saturday’s event also recognised teams that raised more than $5000 for this year’s relay, which entitled them to receive a research award.
The teams were St Brigid’s College, Team Axe, Froot Loops, Team Marcos Family and Friends, and Horsham Primary School.
Mr Amor said the committee would aim to build on this year’s hall of fame.
“I think we can make it an even more fantastic event in the future,” he said.