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Media Release - 'Incredible' gift of a lifetime for The Basin community

George and Pat Hetrel donate $1 million to transform Batterham Reserve

A couple’s lifetime of generosity has culminated in a $1 million gift to The Basin community.

Local owners of the renowned Como Gardens estate in The Basin, George and Pat Hetrel, have just provided a cheque to Knox City Council to transform nearby Batterham Reserve into a landmark sports and leisure precinct.

Knox Mayor John Mortimore has praised the couple for their “incredible generosity” and love for the community.

“I’m still trying to believe it!” Mayor Mortimore said. “I’d been speaking with the couple over recent weeks as they prepared to make the donation, and can’t wait to see it put to good use.

“While I’m still pretty shocked, it’s so typical of George and Pat to do something special to help the local community,” the Mayor added.

“Not only have George and Pat provided this outstandingly generous financial support, they are the driving force behind many of the improvements that will now take place at the Reserve.

“And the timing is great,” he added. “Right now, the Batterham clubs are in desperate need of more facilities to cope with the massive increase in numbers.”

Generous ‘for years’

“George and Pat have been doing this sort of thing for years,” he said. “Through their Open Days and Como Gardens they have supported such vital groups as St John Ambulance, the State Emergency Service and the local Fire Brigade.”

George and Pat Hetrel cheque presentation
Pictured left to right: Pat Hetrel, George Hetrel, Knox City Council Mayor, Cr John Mortimore, close family friend and advisor to the Hetrel’s, Paul Edgar and Baird Ward Councillor, Peter Lockwood.

The cheque was presented to Council in private during recent weeks, so that staff could safely deposit the gift and immediately plan for its use.

“Not one cent will be wasted,” the Mayor added. “In fact, our teams are working to deliver specific ideas the couple have for improving this much-loved facility at Batterham Reserve.

“For example, improving facilities for the significant growth in women’s sport is behind the change rooms extension.”

Summary of works planned

Planned works Details Expected cost
New changing facility Matching gift funding for new changing facility to cater for increased participation,
especially women’s sport.
Change rooms extension Providing new and better facilities to accommodate girls and women at Batterham. $220,000
New flood lighting Relocation of existing flood lighting from main oval to top oval. $75,000
Cricket nets Replacement of existing cricket nets so that new multipurpose curtain-like nets can
accommodate cricket and other sports.
New pathways Adding in a new all-ability footpath network around both ovals. $235,000
Total Estimate of Cost $998,500

Perfect timing for new works

The timing for the enhancement works is perfect, the Mayor explained when presenting a certificate of appreciation to George and Pat Hetrel at Council’s 28 May Ordinary Meeting.

“We have just started replacing the existing floodlight towers at Batterham Reserve’s main oval with towers that can provide an enhanced coverage of light across the oval,” the Mayor explained.

“That was because of another couple of generous contributions made by both The Basin Football Club for $25,000, and the Australian Government for $150,000.” Knox City Council contributed $25,000 from its 2017-18 Budget for the works.

Pat and George’s gift means that the existing floodlights can be moved to the second oval at the same time – which will mean that this facility can be used for junior and senior training throughout the winter months.

“Now, with the money to be able to do additional works, this whole precinct is effectively getting a facelift that will make it one of the best facilities in the City of Knox,” the Mayor said.

Special thanks from clubs

A special combined clubs thank you announcement was held last week on Thursday 24 May to allow members, players and supporters to meet George and Pat Hetrel and show their appreciation.

Pat and George Hetrel presentation with the Knox Mayor and Deputy Mayor
Pictured left to right: Deputy Mayor, Cr Jake Keogh, Knox City Council Mayor, Cr John Mortimore, Pat Hetrel and George Hetrel.

Representing the local clubs was Matt Young, President of The Basin Junior Football Club, who praised the Hetrels for being such humble and community-minded individuals.

Mr Young said the massive growth in numbers experienced by clubs using the Reserve would enable plans for better facilities to be fulfilled.

“The dream is about to become reality!” he said.

Also present at the 24 May event was President of The Basin Cricket Club, Steve Porch, and President of The Basin Football and Netball Club, Alex Winters.

Issued: Tuesday 29 May 2018

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