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’s Declo Bisimwa firmly believes education is the key to a better life.
Beautiful weather greeted Tungamah residents for the 18th running of the Tungamah Lions Ten Thousand on Sunday.
When Keith and Marion Grumley and their growing family moved to Tatura on January 18, 1968, little did they know that it would be the start of a long and lasting connection to the town.
Garners Boxing Gym in Echuca is encouraging young people to get active with weekly boxing/cardio classes.
Rochester Rotary Club has celebrated its 50th birthday in style.
Sorting future of Campaspe pools
A theatre production with a difference is coming to Seymour.
Local athletes will go head-to-head with some of the best competitors from around the world in swimming and athletics in December.
District residents and visitors will be able to enjoy some of the region’s most beautiful private gardens on Sunday.
The 116th annual Cobram Show went off with a bang at the weekend, drawing in crowds from far and wide for two days of fun.
Tomorrow is a Total Fire Ban day in Deniliquin, meaning no fires can be lit in the open and all fire permits are suspended.
Fifty new full-time jobs will be created at Tatura with a multimillion-dollar expansion of the abattoirs expected to be announced today.
Remembering Australian political giant Gough Whitlam who once called on Benalla police to stop then Treasurer Frank Crean on his journey up the Hume to phone the PM.
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