What started as a brief email from Hamish and the Bats4life team in Melbourne has now concluded in a showing of over 100 cricket bats painted by artists from all around Australia to support Willo and his movement to see the ability in disability.
A young man living with disabilities and an incredible team of artists from all around Australia … who would have thought we could be placed front and centre in a beautiful gallery in the heart of Melbourne presenting ourselves to an international audience. Just another step along the way in this journey with Will.
We came here on a casual invitation with no expectations …. only that we felt more people needed to see Willo bats and to witness the strength of our cause. We also came because we believed in the vision of Hamish and his team from bats4life.
We could not have been more proud of how we were presented. It took many hours for the bats to be hung and catalogued and they looked stunning. It seemed a fitting outcome to the faith and trust so many of you placed in us. They were hung professionally and with such care and were joined by over 20 of Melbourne’s award winning artists who came on board to support the exhibition. Artists included Robert Doble, Tom Vincent, Peter Westwood, Jeremy Kible Steve Cox, Mary Schepisi, Mark Freeman, Merrick Brettel, Michael Peck, Pimpisa Tinpalit, Robert Hague, Steve Asquith, Spook, Mark Schiller and Steven Estaugh.
Thank you to John Gollings, a well known Australian architectural photographer for being with us and capturing the event.
So many stories from the night … Fred Schepisi the Hollywood film producer not only spoke but bought The Blackman Family bat painted by his artist son, Auguste. One family coincidentally bought two bats and they were our husband and wife team of Heather and Roger Bayzand. We have a bat going to the Hong Kong Cricket Club and thank you Ken Deayton … amazing Trish Williams, Rohin Kickett your off to Essendon Football Club and Jo White your bat is on its way to a yacht club in the Mornington Peninsula.
John Murray and Carole Elliot .. 4 bats between you are heading to Canberra. The ex Chairman of the International Cricket Council Malcolm Gray bought your bat Sally Edmonds and many many others have gone to homes throughout Melbourne. Geoff Harveys bat was donated back to us, thank you Michael Williams and artist Anita Parker. The pianist from Melbourne Grammar School played your score Geoff that you wrote on the bat!!. It was so lovely and funny. He has it now as a gift from Willo.
Betty Mclean your bat was admired and bought along with Gilly Huber, Jessica Fesic, Dale Dee, Max Horst, Fiona Groome, Julie Silvester, Barbara Swadling and Wayne Herring and Maria Meneghini.
There was one moment in the evening when the room was full of people talking and I saw Will standing amongst the busyness alone … he was simply watching and viewing all around him. It was a moment to remember … how, from little things …. big things grow.
He is the star of the show. So humble and gracious in his ability to accept where he is and what is happening around him. No ego and no desire to be the centre of attention. He simply loves his cricket, his friends and family and is willing to step outside his comfort zone to be the best he can be. Restoring the old bats and lovingly handed them on in the hope all who he touches will understand the difference he is endeavouring to achieve for all people living with disabilities.
Our family is humbled by this experience and cannot begin to express the deep gratitude we feel to our artists, supporters and friends. The entire experience has given us more confidence in what we are endeavouring to do for Will and the interest that is the cricket bats.
To Hamish and Vanessa, Helen Bogdan, The Brightspace Gallery and our new friends in Melbourne … thank you.