Wodonga Men’s Shed celebrated a major achievement on Thursday and honoured three of the stalwarts who helped make it a reality.
Alex Thompson, Ken Farrar and Alton Butt received the group’s first life memberships, presented during the opening of the new men’s shed in Jamieson Court.
Wodonga Men’s Shed chairman Adrian Adair noted the shed had not yet existed for the 10 years usually required for life memberships.
“To the committee, achieving the strategic plan of building, occupying and officially opening this grand Wodonga Men’s Shed represents special circumstances,” Mr Adair said.
All three life members have been tireless, longstanding workers for the shed, which started in 2008.
Mr Farrar, visibly moved by the honour, recalled something he’d learned a long time ago.
“If ever you get involved in anything like this again, get good people around you,” he said. “And that’s what we’ve got, that’s fantastic.”
Thursday’s ceremony revealed just how many good people had contributed to the planning and construction of the new shed.
Measuring more than 400 square metres, the building offers about nine times the space of the former shed in Emerald Avenue.
It was full of members and guests to hear how the group had raised $200,000 towards the project since January 2016.
Treasurer Malcolm Gillies said this money accumulated through grants from the Victorian government and Wodonga Council, community organisation donations and corporate and business sponsors. About $45,000 of the total came from activities such as barbecues, raffles and kindling sales.
“I can honestly say, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine we’d be so successful,” Mr Gillies said.
An additional $140,000 of work was provided in kind.
Mr Adair praised the efforts of the 66 shed members as well as their partners.
“The shed stands here today as the sum of each and every contribution, both big, small and in between,” he said.
The chairman said the new facility would accommodate “many more blokes and an ever-increasing range of rewarding activities”.
“It will allow us to grow, share and develop skills, ideas and information,” Mr Adair said. “To encourage and support one another, to socialise and to just sit and have a chat.”