Annette Blachford and her family standing in front of a road train truck, all holding collection tins

Annette Blachford

Meet Annette, our volunteer Area Manager in the small but generous regional town of Wood Wood.

They may live in one of the smallest towns in Victoria – with a population of just 85, according to the 2016 Census – but the people of Wood Wood have big hearts.

For each of the past 15 years they have given around $1000 to the Good Friday Appeal.

Thanks to local mum and truck driver Annette Blachford, a small team of volunteers doorknocks households in Wood Wood, nearby Piangil and along about 10km of highway near the Murray River border communities.

Annette is one of our 190 volunteer regional Area Managers who fundraise on behalf of the Appeal, organising events, collections, door knocks and activities, and rallying their community to Give for the Kids.

The Area Manager for Wood Wood decided to get involved in the Appeal after her then five-month-old son Brees was diagnosed at The Royal Children’s Hospital with allergies to dairy, eggs and nuts. He had six monthly treatments at the hospital until the allergies cleared when he was 10.

Now aged 18, Brees has always joined his parents and sisters Taylen, 16, and Summer, 15, for the annual doorknock.

“No one in our area was doing anything for the Appeal and never had,” Annette said. “I thought a doorknock would be fairly easy to organise.

“Every year the kids help – and have been doing it since they were about 3 – along with my husband, mother, sister and her family, and another lady who always comes along.”

In 2020, COVID put a stop to the doorknocking but Annette arranged for collection tins at the Wood Wood general store and the Piangil post office so people could continue to donate.

Annette had a similar approach for the 2021 Appeal. This year she left donation envelopes in the post boxes at the local post offices in Wood Wood and Piangil, as well as the collection containers and using a QR code.

Being prepared is something Annette knows all about – she drives a road train that can carry up to 53 tonnes of grain from farms to the local silos. In the harvest season her day starts at 6am and it could be 10pm before she gets home. “There are no shops out there, so you have to take everything with you!”

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Words: Tricia Quirk

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