The suggestion to make masks and sell them for Dubbo Can Assist seemed innocent enough. Dusty sewing machines were brought out of cupboards, by rusty workers. Cutters, snippers, ironers and sewers all worked tirelessly in a couple of hastily set up work rooms. The Outback Dragon boaters came on board, and the Covid19 decommissioned zoo volunteers hopped in to help. First the elastic ran out, then the black fabric. Who would have envisaged that !!!!!

After three weeks of sewing, extensive orders and much chat and laughter, Can Assist volunteers have passed the baton to others to continue to mask our community and keep us all safe. Many thanks to all who provided assistance, materials and by purchasing the masks.

For us slightly senior volunteers, who have practiced all health safety measures and lockdowns meticulously, this exercise has allowed us to enjoy the camaraderie with our peers. At a time when we were unable to raise funds, in the normal ways, to help our local cancer patients, we have boosted our coffers, by approximately $8,000. In total we created about 1200 masks, and we still have them available at Macquarie Homestay ( the Dubbo Base accommodation facility) and Dubbo Culinary and Homewares.

Catering Coordinator Jason Carroll with volunteer Murray Izzard outside IGA on Friday.

The familiar smell of the Can Assist barbecue can once again be experienced outside IGA as restrictions ease to allow the charity to get back to fundraising.

At the height of restrictions all fundraising except for donations ceased, putting a dent in the incoming monies of the organisation – an issue faced by charities across the country.

Outgoing costs however remained as Can Assist continued to provide financial assistance to those affected by cancer during the pandemic.

Cootamundra residents sniffing out a sausage sizzle can get their fix every second Friday outside IGA.

Can Assist volunteers are also back behind the barbecue at the Cootamundra Saleyards during their fortnightly sheep sale providing take-away fare for agents and other necessary personnel – another fundraising avenue which temporarily closed during the height of Covid19 infections earlier this year.


Mavis selling at the trading table

Early September saw the return of Bingo to the Cootamundra Ex-servicemen’s Club. The first occasion was in aid of Can Assist. Of course, Covid-19 restrictions saw a reduced participation. Those who booked, did so very, very promptly, so the night was a sell-out, a definite indication of the popularity of this event.

Robyn serving another member, Kay. There was a huge supply of cakes to sell

Can Assist want to thank all who attended and who were very generous in their donations, purchases from the cake stall and purchases of raffle tickets. Helen Eccleston won the $50 Fuel Card prize in the raffle and over-all, the night brought in just on $1,000 for Can Assist funds.

Colleen and Pam (caller and member) taking a quick break

Thanks also goes to Megan Sawyer, new Manager of the Club, for her sterling work in seeing to the organisation in the new venue (which worked very well) and under Covid-19 rules and regulations. Also, thanks to Greg Bruce, past Manager, for popping in to see that we were all enjoying ourselves. A wonderful night was had by all.

Judy Claypole with her cake.

Judy Claypole has been a valued member of Blayney Can Assist since our group was founded in 2008, holding the position of Publicity Officer for the past 12 years. Judy resigned from this position in March this year but remains an active member of our branch.

Members of Blayney Can Assist Carolyn Nankivell, Ray Burns, Hilton Davis, Margaret Matthews and Cathy Jeffery attended afternoon tea to celebrate Judy Claypole (front left).

Earlier this year, unbeknown to Judy, Honorary Life Membership was bestowed on her. Due to COVID restrictions our branch had not been able to meet to present this to Judy but earlier this month a small group of members, who were part of the original group who formed our branch, met for a casual afternoon tea in order to present Judy with her Honorary Life Membership and thank her for her dedication to our branch and our local community. President, Ray Burns, presented Judy with her badge, certificate and a bouquet of flowers before Judy cut a cake marking the occasion. As it happens, Ray was the inaugural President when our branch formed so it was only fitting that he was there to make the presentation. Judy was surprised to be recognised in such a way and enjoyed time reminiscing with those present about how things had been in those early times and friendships formed through the years.

Bathurst Thoroughbred Racing Club will this year raise funds for Can Assist

While this year’s Bathurst Cup meeting will be restricted to just 300 people, Bathurst Thoroughbred Racing will be donating a portion of its gate and bar takings to the charity.

Ray White Emms Mooney has already got the ball rolling, donating $1,500 to Can Assist. Can Assist president Gen Croaker said any kind of support or donation is “greatly appreciated”.

They have also been granted assistance from Essential Energy Community Choices and