65 YEARS ON: Volunteers keep Christmas wheel spinning
THERE are many people that help make the iconic Local Ambulance Committee Christmas Goods Wheel spin each year.
Hervey Bay's Maurice Tench is one of them.
The 74-year-old joined the Lions Club when he was just 23 in a bid to simply help the community.
He has done that and much more after selling tickets with the Hervey Bay Lions Club at the Scarness wheel every Christmas for than three decades.
Organiser Jo-Anne Farrell said the wheel, which has been spinning in Hervey Bay for 65 years, simply wouldn't run without support from local Service Clubs and groups, who volunteer their time to sell tickets over the three weeks the wheel is held.
"These include the Rotary Clubs of Hervey Bay City and Hervey Bay Sunrise, Fraser Lions, View Club, Hervey Bay Lions, Zonta, Hervey Bay Councillors and Bendigo Bank," she said.
Mr Tench said he was only too happy to help, especially with proceeds from the Goods Wheel supporting the Queensland Ambulance with essential equipment.
"The committee is doing so much work already that they shouldn't have to be out there selling tickets every night for 20 nights," Mr Tench said.
"This is why I joined Lions, to be able to help the community and because the ambulance does just a fantastic job and the committee is supplying a lot of the equipment for the ambulance service that the government doesn't supply.
"The committee is doing a marvellous job."
It has become a tradition for many local families and holiday makers, to bring the whole family, their folding chairs and picnic rugs down to 'The Stage' at Scarness for a night out and to try their luck on the Ambulance Wheel.
Mr Tench said he has seen the number of people attending the wheel grow each and every year.
"We are very lucky that the community really supports the wheel every year.
"I'm an ex-farmer, self-employed all my life and selling raffle tickets wasn't my idea of fun but selling the wheel tickets … you don't sell them, people come to you and buy them.
"There's always great support from the holiday-makers too."
The Ambulance Goods Wheel will start spinning on Saturday, December 14 and will be held nightly from 7pm (except Christmas Day) until Saturday, January 4, 2020.
Tickets are only 50 cents each and there will be about 1000 prizes to choose from.