WHAT started out as a pre-Christmas get together between a few retired stock agents, Merino breeders and farmers has morphed into a significant charity fundraiser.
Now known as the Old Ram Muster (ORM) the group, started in 2001 by former farmers Glen Keamy, Ian ‘Ginge’ Robinson and Dudley Preston, Perth, now holds an annual fundraising luncheon each October and as a result has this year handed over cheques of $6350 and $10,000.
Their charity of choice, as it has been since 2007, is the Ability Centre, Coolbinia, which offers care and services for children and adults with disabilities.
Mr Keamy said the group started as a social occasion for a few mates.
“We used to pay separately for our meal and throw some money on the table as a kitty for drinks,” Mr Keamy said.
“One year there was some money left over and we wondered what to do with it.
“My wife Julie suggested we donate it to charity and because Ginge had a connection with Ability Centre we nominated that to be our charity.
“We decided to hold a proper function, a luncheon with a guest speaker each year and now work on inviting as many people to it as we can to boost the money raised.”
In 2017 more than 100 people attended the lunch, which since 2010 has been held at the Royal Agricultural Society of WA’s (RASWA) councillor’s lounge provided free of charge and collectively they raised the $6350 presented to the Ability Centre late last year.
Last Wednesday current and incoming committee members visited Ability Centre to see some of the equipment that had been purchased with their donation and it provided an opportunity for outgoing convenor Simon Joel to give some extra good news to the centre.
“Today we can announce that we have a second cheque for you worth $10,000 donated by the JP Stratton Trust,” Mr Joel said.
Mr Joel said Jack Stratton was a bachelor heavily involved in the trotting industry who died without having any immediate family, so the JP Stratton Trust (JPST) was set up by his estate.
Co-director of JPST Richard Alder attended his first ORM luncheon last year and was so impressed that he started the process for JPST to donate to the cause.
“Initially he proposed $5000, so we were really thrilled to just receive advice that it will now be for $10,000,” Mr Joel said.
The ORM group met for morning tea at the centre’s new Bradford Views, an independent shared living facility for adults commissioned last December in time for Christmas and officially opened in May.
Bradford Views was custom built following consultation with customers and their families, staff, management and architectural firm Parry-Whyte Architects.
It now houses 20 adults in three villas, many of whom are experiencing their first taste of home living with their own bedrooms following years of institutional care.
A fourth villa is used as a transitional facility, plus there is a community centre and art studio which can be used for group get togethers or during visits by family members and friends.
Across its range of facilities, Ability Centre has more than 2000 customers and 1000 staff, with about 90 per cent of its funding being government generated through the national NDIS scheme and the remainder from philanthropic donations, critical in providing additional equipment and services.
This year’s ORM luncheon will be held on Friday, October 26, again at the RASWA councillor’s lounge.
For enquiries or bookings contact Rob Chomley at email@example.com or Mike Walter at firstname.lastname@example.org
Footnote – Farm Weekly is also a donor to the ORM charity.