Maryborough Artisan Lesley Mason and Maryborough RSL CEO Jason Scanes at the Craftfest Community Challenge display at the RSL encouraging patrons to sew a Christmas stocking to be given to the Christmas Care Packages sent to Australia troops serving overseas.
Maryborough Artisan Lesley Mason and Maryborough RSL CEO Jason Scanes at the Craftfest Community Challenge display at the RSL encouraging patrons to sew a Christmas stocking to be given to the Christmas Care Packages sent to Australia troops serving overseas. Boni Holmes

Challenge to uplift troops at Christmas

A CHRISTMAS care package filler will become the community challenge for this year's CraftFest.

Maryborough Artisans who host the CraftFest in the City Hall in November each year decided in the last few years to add a challenge.

"Last year was Sew An Apron and we got over 120 entries which we donated to the Royal Flying Doctors who sold them as a fundraiser,” artisan Lesley Mason said.

"This is aside from our major beneficiary who receives our profits.

"It was such a success last year we decided to give the community another challenge.”

So members decided with it getting close to Christmas they would do a Christmas stocking. Lesley said they saw an article in the Maryborough Herald where Tam Geritz was organising care packs for the troops.

"So we contacted Tam and the idea was born,” Lesley said. Lesley spoke with her friend and RSL promotions manager Siona O'Regan and asked her to sew a stocking.

Siona asked RSL CEO Jason Scanes if she could put up a flyer and Jason agreed for the artisans and Siona set up a display to get the RSL patrons on board.

"As a returned serviceman myself I have spent several Christmas' overseas on operations,” Jason said. "I think this is a fantastic operation.

"I know all too well of the importance of receiving a care package and how uplifting they are to get one, because family and friends might not come through on time.

"To have a care package sitting there waiting for you on Christmas day is really uplifting. I know the troops really appreciate receiving them.”

Jason said he knew of the care packages and thought the RSL should be assisting.

"When Siona brought this to my attention this year, I jumped straight on board with what can we do, how can we help,” he said.

"We are hoping to get support from other local businesses to come on board and donate some of the smaller items we can send over in those packages.”

The CEO said patrons have been very interested in the idea.

"We have a good following of sub-branch members and we have a very rich military history in Maryborough,” Jason said. "I think a lot of the public and our patrons in particular are getting right behind it. "We hope to smash Tam's record of 250 last year and double that.

"When I was overseas we got a small washing bag sent over, which were handmade - I still have mine at home.

"So I know that these little mementos like the stocking will be something the soldiers will keep from their deployment.”

For more information contact craftfest@live. com.au or Maryborough Heritage CraftFest on Facebook.



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