Echuca businessman Paul 'Macca' McKenzie has answered the call of Echuca East Primary School student Lleyton Dunne.By Kathleen Tonini
The initiative of a young boy and the generosity of an Echuca business man mean Echuca East Primary School will soon have a set of goal posts.
The school does not have any football goal posts, but does have a number of young football enthusiasts.
The school has been fundraising for sports equipment lately, but grade 5 student Lleyton Dunne took it upon himself to seek help from a handful of local businesses.
He emailed business asking for help, describing his love of football, particularly for Collingwood, and without his teacher’s knowledge.
Echuca Mitre 10 replied with the offer of goods to be used with fundraising, but that was just the start.
Physical education teacher Ben Holmfield then received an email from Paul McKenzie, owner of Macca’s Demolition, offering to buy and install the posts.
Mr Holmfield said he was amazed not only by Mr McKenzie’s offer, but by Lleyton’s initiative.
School principal Lyn Strachan said Lleyton had developed a strong sense of community that was fostered at the school.
‘‘It just really did bring a tear to my eye when I read the email, let alone the response,’’ she said.
Mr McKenzie said though the posts would end up costing more than he had originally expected, he hoped they would be put to good use by the students.
‘‘I used to love playing school footy,’’ he said.
Lleyton, clearly stoked by the response to his emails, thanked Mr McKenzie when the pair met for a photo for the Riv.
The pair chatted about football, a passion they clearly share.
Lleyton is a keen footballer not just at school, but for Echuca United under 12s.
Mr Holmfield said the students were all ‘‘pumped’’ about the prospect of goal posts and kept asking when they would arrive.
The posts are expected to arrive within the next couple of weeks.
While Lleyton’s initiative and passion have clearly made the school community proud, he saw it in a slightly different light.
‘‘I was sick of kicking goals into thin air,’’ he said.
Letter to Paul McKenzie:
Hello, my name is Lleyton Dunne.
I am 10 years old and in grade 5.
I attend Echuca East Primary School. We are trying to raise some money to get some much needed AFL goal posts for our school oval.
My sport’s teacher is very excited to be able to raise some money for them and I was thinking if you might be able to assist us with a donation.
My sport’s teacher’s name is Ben Holmfield.
I have not told him that I have emailed you as it would be a wonderful surprise for him if you could help us and either ring or email him at our school.
I hope you can help us, as we love football and we are all so happy to finally get a chance to get some new posts.
Thank you so much for your time. I love AFL and Collingwood. You can email my sports teacher or call and ask for Ben Holmfield on 5482 2588.
Thanks I look forward to your reply.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Lleyton Dunne, Echuca East Primary School.
Reply from Paul McKenzie:
I received an email from Lleyton Dunne who tells me he loves his footy and that his school oval has no goal posts.
Well Lleyton, I also love my footy and love the Saints and would like to help you out with the goal posts.
I have made a few inquiries and found that aluminium posts need to be used.
They are a little more expensive than first thought but I found some money I had laying around that I was saving for a rainy day and guess what? It’s raining today!
So, if it’s alright with the teachers, I will organise for your new goal posts to be built in about three weeks time.
I hope everyone can then practice their goal kicking and grow up to play AFL.
Paul McKenzie, Macca’s Demolition.
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