In front of family and friends at his Barmah home, Bill Vickers christened his boat, Pelican.TRENT HORNEMAN April 7, 2014 3:54am
Eleven years ago, Bill Vickers set about restoring an old boat, while awaiting a heart transplant.
On Friday, he finally got to christen the bow in front of family and friends at his Barmah home.
Mr Vickers recalled standing at the counter of Echuca timber company Dempsey Galvin ordering wood for the boat in 2003 when he received a life-changing phone call.
‘‘Guy Galvin came out and said I had a phone call,’’ Mr Vickers said.
‘‘It was my wife asking me whether I had my phone with me.
‘‘I told her that I did, but it was turned off,’’ he said.
‘‘I was in ordering timber for the boat and there was a guy on life support in New Zealand, who would eventually be my heart donor.’’
Mr Vickers said Friday’s celebration was a major milestone.
‘‘It is 11 years and one day since I started work on the boat,’’ he said.
‘‘It is (also) 11 years since the transplant, so I am 11 years old today.’’
Mr Vickers said the restoration was put on hold while he recovered from the transplant.
The boat, dubbed Pelican, was also put on hold while Mr Vickers built Heart to Heart House, a retreat for people recovering from transplants, which is just a stone’s throw from his front door.
He has also prepared a caravan to take travelling with his wife, Glenys.
Since his life-changing operation, Mr Vickers has been a strong advocate for people signing up to become organ donors.
He said his new heart allowed him to build Heart to Heart house, refurbish his boat and caravan as well as see his grandchildren grow.
While inclement weather prevented the Pelican from entering the Murray River on Friday, Mr Vickers said he had taken it for a test drive.
‘‘It goes like a 747,’’ he said.
Having previously boated the length of the Murray River, from Albury to Goolwa, Mr Vickers said he would like to do another long journey.
‘‘I did the full length in 1999,’’ he said.
‘‘I think this time around I would like to do something similar, but not as far.’’
Shepparton Swans brought up their second win of the GVFL season with a hard fought win against Shepparton United.
Pete O’Neill and Abby Hicks are national champions at the completion of the 2015 Australian Barefoot Championships held last week.
Popular Tatura hairdresser Gabrielle Dodd and her English beau Daniel Coombs were married at Sacred Heart Church on Friday.
Liam Guinan was the post-siren hero for Echuca United on Saturday in the Murray Football League.
Rochester boxing coach Chris Trewin and his team of dedicated trainers have been hitting the bag for more than six months and the results are beginning to show.
Local MP calls for community applications
A special event will take place at Pioneer Park on Sunday.
Jerilderie's born and bred Madeleine Harris has been recognised for her banking and finance career
Concerned Costerfield residents had the chance to voice their antimony health concerns last week after an independent facilitator was appointed.
More than 600 people enjoyed the Rumble in the Gums youth event on April 11 at the Cobram skate park.
Deniliquin swimming dynamo Stephen Dalzell has finished 13th overall in his preferred event at the Australian Age Championships.
Murray Goulburn Co-operative has set a date for a special meeting to vote on a new capital structure.
Emergency services are on scene of a two-car crash on the Midland Hwy, near Benalla. Two people have died. Traffic is being diverted.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.