Buccaneers giving education a leg up

• The South Coast Buccaneers fresh before a game at the Easter Masters Carnival on Sunday. The connection be-tween a large group of Masters AFL footballers and their families on the Sapphire Coast and a group of young people paddling canoes to school in the Solomon Islands, would seem tenuous, but over the Easter holidays this unlikely association became established.

The 13th annual Masters AFL Easter Carnival was held at Pambula Beach Sporting Complex.

Teams from the Mornington Peninsula, Frankston, Illawarra/Sydney and the ACT competed against the local side, the South Coast Buccaneers, but the real winner in reality, will be a group of young people on an isolated island within the Solomons.

Currently children from the Chea village of the Solomon Islands, are required to paddle dugout canoes and the like for an hour through the Marovo lagoon to attend school.

Consequently, school attendance is sporadic at best.

This situation is changing though through the construction of a school within the village which is being aided by proceeds from the Buccaneers’ Masters carnival.

The Easter carnival started on Good Friday with the popular bowls competition at Club Sapphire followed by a round robin format of modified rules AFL games on Easter Saturday and Sunday.

The Buccaneers were again highly competitive not dropping a game over the weekend.

Despite the lack of regular competition, unlike the visiting sides, which have fortnightly hit outs, the locals showed they were more than capable of mixing it with their city counterparts.

One of the highlights of the carnival was the celebration of Ricky Holt’s life membership of the Buccaneers, at a well-attended function at the Top Pub on Saturday night.

Holt’s contribution to various charities and sporting organisations was also recognised through the announcement of a NSW Government Premier’s Community Service Award, to be presented by recently returned Member for Bega and Minister for Transport and

Infrastructure, Andrew Constance.

Carnival co-ordinators Jarrod Wallis and Bryan Hammond, and their team of volunteers, ensured the carnival was again a terrific success.

The Buccaneers’ generous support of a children’s home in Bali and assistance to needy local families will continue, but the children of Chea village will be especially grateful that their morning and afternoon paddle for an education will soon be coming to an end.

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