Colleen Barrett's new Carnival keys delivered

THE result of 12 months of fundraising for the Barrett family was unveiled on Monday as Janelle Barrett took delivery of a fully converted disability access vehicle for her daughter Colleen. 

Last March, members of the Wyndham Hymn Singers Alice Elton and Aileen Trezise started a fundraising project to help the Barrett family - which exceeded all their expectations. 

“Colleen has cerebral palsy and I’ve known her since she was a little girl,” Ms Elton said. 

“I’ve watched how difficult it had become for Janelle, helped often by her mother Barbara, get her into their car which had no allowance for her disability.

“Aileen and I wanted to do something about it, and started with a raffle and two concerts featuring the Wyndham Hymn Singers and other performers and it grew from there.

“We started with a target of $30,000 for a second-hand vehicle, but as the idea grew we aimed higher for brand new vehicle.”

Ms Trezise said community service groups, local sporting clubs and students of Bega High School where Colleen was attending Year 12 all came on board, as well as private donors. 

“We’ve had donations large and small, we had $12,000 come in at one point from a series of private donors,” Ms Trezise said.

“Those with almost nothing themselves have donated and I’ve constantly been humbled by the generosity of people in the past 12 months.

“Everyone who has contributed in some way to this, thank you so much,” Ms Trezise said.

By the end of last year the fundraising committee had raised almost $80,000, which paid for a new Kia Carnival from Tarra Ford and a $37,000 disability access conversion that took several months.

Now Colleen’s wheelchair is moved into the car seamlessly on a ramp and pulled up mechanically and there no need to move her physically.

At the unveiling of the car at Tarra Ford on Monday, Janelle was overcome with emotion and cried as the committee gave her a final cheque for $2190, left over after the car’s purchase.

In addition to Ms Trezise and Ms Elton, other choir members present with Janelle and Colleen were Frank Elton, Andy Cross, Lyn Scyrmgeour and Norma Wright; members Mary Payne and Carolyn Griffiths were unable to attend. 

“My heart is just racing today,” Janelle said.

“This vehicle gives independence to Colleen and myself, and I just can’t thank everyone enough.

“Colleen turned 21 yesterday, so this is a very special birthday!”

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