The Bats Have a Life

May 25, 2017

The momentum continues.

So many artists are coming to us wanting to work with Will, to support our endeavour of starting the business and I feel, to be connected with something special.

Each day as quick as Will can work the bats, we are sending them to all corners of Australia. Beautiful artists from Lighting Ridge, Berrima, Perth, Melbourne, the Tiwi Islands have all rallied and sent beautiful messages of support. They want for nothing other than to help. Sports people including Michael Clarke, Glenn Turner, the Swans Bulldogs and the Roosters football teams, musicians such as Jimmy Barnes and Archibald finalists Zoe Young and Ben Quilty.

The Mens Shed in Bowral have been amazing in their encouragement. With the help of Anala and Stephen Hughes, our local disability service, working with Will to mentor and support he has been taken to Chevalier College, Oxley College and St Thomas Aquinas School to work with the students. Wills dad James, is a beautiful carpenter and builder, and the connection between the boys has strengthened with Wills new found skills. The way Will is working the bats is so nice to watch.

I think the artists have been the most amazing part of the journey for us. Their backgrounds and their talent, the moment we finally meet and connect, the stories they share and the bats that come to us with their unique styles.

We had numerous parents of children living with disabilities come to us telling us how inspired they are and want to paint a bat to support our cause. Through our very first artist Peter Browne a world of artists was opened to us. But before I talk about that I want to pay particular attention to Peter. An unassuming, talented man with artworks that celebrate the outback in its many shapes and forms. His work has been showcased on vintage VW’s across media and in galleries through the world. He willingly offered to support Will and opened his world to us including Artists Without Borders.

Artists without Borders introduced us to many beautiful and talented artists from all across Australia. Their works depicting country, outback, animals and and people. We were constantly surprised and overwhelmed at the talent and creativity that was being presented to us. We had no idea really the extent to which this was heading and the possibilities of artwork on cricket bats. The feedback was however that the artists enjoyed the flat clean medium provided by the Willow bat and wanted to support the cause.

We decided to call the project/ business at this stage Willo Industries. It was such a beautiful coincidence. Will and Willow. In the meantime we were contacted by ABC 7:30 Report who wanted to do a story on Will and the emerging bats. Thanks to Matt Watson from our cricket club for setting this up and speaking with Tracey Bowden and then holding our hands throughout the communication.

The Bowral Bookstore came on board to help us showcase the bats and to our amazement people were traveling from all over the place to the Southern Highlands to see the bats. The window display was beautiful and each day we drove past there were people standing and looking and talking. It was exciting to see and I found myself constantly reflecting on how far we had come.

My days were filled with finding bats, getting Will to his mentors, writing to artists, sending bats and trying to keep the momentum alive. In the interim, the day to day continues. Family, Will, work and life.

Our cricket club with Phil Sherley, Graham Brake and Matt Watson are the backbone to Wills weekend love and they open the door to all our clubs to see Will and they allow him to experience sport in a way we all take for granted. For a moment in the game the players all come together to celebrate Wills love. He is seen as an integral member of the cricket community and I truly believe he is the one that gets us all to stay in the moment, enjoy where we are and simply see the fun in playing.

Life is busy and I would not want it any other way. Will now has a rewarding week full of new people new experiences and new found skills. So much media interest in his bats and a new family that simply wants to support. We wonder where it will go from here?

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