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Lawnmowers raise money for peace

A ride-on lawnmower race was the kick-starter for a fundraising campaign aimed to install a World Peace Bell in the Victorian border town of Albury-Wodonga.

The first race of its kind in Wodonga last month was a huge success, raising more than $1000 for the Rotary World Peace Bell project.

Expected to be completed by late 2021, the Japanese Peace Bell was an initiative aimed at promoting peace in the home, streets, schools and local community.

Wodonga West Rotarian Clive Faul said there were only two peace bells in Australia (Cowra, NSW and Canberra, ACT) and they cost more than $250,000 to complete.

“As you can imagine, fundraising is anything but easy, so something a little unique and very different, I thought would be a great idea,” Mr Faul said.

Lawnmowers raise money for peace

Cowra’s World Peace Bell was awarded in 1992 for its contributions to peace and understanding. Picture: visitnsw.com.

Australian Ride On Lawn Mower Racing Associations president Di Millsteed said the sport was action-packed and one for the entire family to enjoy while also supporting communities in need.

“Our club is a group of people that share the same passion for mower racing while raising really important funds for community events and small communities that need a hand,” she said.

Mr Faul said Covid had highlighted many serious issues, particularly domestic violence and other forms of abuse.

“We want the community to know that this bell isn’t only about world peace, but peace in the home, like anti-bullying and domestic violence. The peace bell can be rung, on any occasion,” he said.

He said the club was “extremely grateful” to the Australian Ride On Lawn Mower Racing Association for deciding to bring their event to Wodonga.

“We would dearly love to see it as an annual fundraising event,” he said.

Lawnmowers raise money for peace

Ray Mackay gears up for an action-packed A Class final. Picture: Maddison Sutton.

Association vice president and racer Ray Mackay said that it was not just about the racing, but the friendships formed and opportunities to support local community projects, such as the Albury-Wodonga Peace Bell.

Mr Mackay said that the track, crowd and organisation efforts were fantastic, and he wouldn’t hesitate to return in 2022.

Racing enthusiast and spectator Kasey Nichols said it was a great event.

“I’m having a great time. The town really needs this after everything that happened with Covid last year,” she said.

Ms Nichols said promoting peace in the Wodonga community was much needed and that the lawnmower races had been instrumental in realising the club’s goals.

“I would love to see this turn into an annual thing,” Ms Nichols said.

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