Christmas gift helps keep community program on the road

Published 21 December 2010

pawsA Christmas present from the University of New England will help the community program Paws Up continue its life-changing work with teenage boys in 2011.

The gift – a cheque for $4,554 – represents half the proceeds of the University’s annual charity fund-raising campaign, known as “Celebration of Sharing”, for 2010.

Professor Jim Barber, the Vice-Chancellor of UNE, presented the cheque to the coordinator of Paws Up, Bernie Shakeshaft, during an end-of-year celebration at the University earlier this month. A cheque for the same amount will be presented in the new year to Sarah McFarlane-Eagle to help her make a 1,400-km walk in Japan in support of SANE Australia, a national charity working for a better life for people affected by mental illness.

Paws Up is a program for disadvantaged teenage boys who are given a Border Collie puppy to look after and train under supervision. The boys have been competing all over Australia in dog high jumping and are now the national champions. “We think you do a great job,” Professor Barber said to Mr Shakeshaft as he presented him with the cheque.

“It’s relationships such as this with UNE that keep us on the road,” Mr Shakeshaft explained in accepting the gift.

The campus-wide “Celebration of Sharing” campaign this year began in August with a charity art auction held at the New England Regional Art Museum, and continued with events including two concerts by internationally renowned visiting musicians and an evening of entertainment from UNE’s own rock band The Commendations, and personal donations.

Clicking on the Paws Up logo displayed here reveals a photograph of Professor Jim Barber (right) presenting Bernie Shakeshaft with the cheque.