Coin fit for a prince to mark Lifeskills fundraiser

Wilpinjong’s general manager Blair Jackson with wife Mandy (left) and Peabody Wilpinjong employee Kellie Smith (right).
Wilpinjong’s general manager Blair Jackson with wife Mandy (left) and Peabody Wilpinjong employee Kellie Smith (right).

In the foyer of a newly refurbished Lifeskills Plus building will hang a unique piece of 15-year-old Red Gum – made by the same man who turned a similar piece for Prince Charles on a visit to Australia in the 1980s. 

That man is Wilpinjong’s general manager Blair Jackson. 

It took him about five hours to make to oversized coin that will feature a brass plaque face as part of an initiative to raise funds for Lifeskills Plus’ long-awaited South Mudgee facility.  

“We were looking for something different, especially when this was so important,” Mr Jackson said. 

“The plaque to be a memento of our commitment to Lifeskills,” Mr Jackson said. 

But why a coin? 

The memento symbolises the “Chain of Coins” event that will be taking place at Lifeskills’ Car Boot Sale Bonanza event on March 21. 

Just over two kilometres of donated coins will be laid at the event – the distance between the disability provider’s current residence in Perry Street and the new Community Centre in Oporto Road it will soon move to.

A similar piece of Red Gum, turned into a bowl with an Australian Mint plaque, was made by Mr Jackson as a gift for Prince Charles more than two decades ago. 

“He came out [to Australia], it would have been late 80s early 90s, he visited a fellow I went to boarding school with, went to his Landcare group [at a village between Condobolin and Parkes],” said Mr Jackson, who  turns wood as a hobby.  

“They thought it appropriate they give him a gift so they contacted me to make a bowl, which I did in Red Gum.” 

The Prince was quite taken with the piece and asked to speak with the man who made it but unfortunately, Mr Jackson was not at the event. 

In addition to donating the purpose-turned coin, Wilpinjong is collecting loose change from its employees to be collected in more than 40 bags embroidered by the GM’s wife Mandy Jackson. 

In less than a week $1000 has been donated by Peabody employees and contractors. 

“We asked people to leave a cup on their desk or at home and put loose change in it and bring them in and it’s just taken off,” said Lloyd Coleman of Peabody Wilpinjong. 

“It’s hit a note which I think is great.” 

The coins will be donated at the March 21 event.


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