More and more events and initiatives are appearing in Maitland that are building a sense of community spirit.
It’s been more than a year since he suffered a life-changing injury while playing a game of football, but Dom Punch (pictured) is still enjoying huge support from the Maitland community.
Hundreds of people made the most of a sun-drenched spring day on Saturday to raise $42,000 to help Punchy – as he’s affectionately known in the Maitland Blacks ranks – buy and modify a van.
Dom has been confined to a wheelchair since last September, when he was involved in a scrum collapse during the second grade Hunter rugby union grand final.
He spent several months in hospital in Sydney, before he arrived home in July – 10 months after he packed his bag and headed to the game on that fateful day in 2015.
The ongoing community support for the popular sportsman should not be a surprise to those who know the Maitland community well. On Saturday, the party in the car park at the George Tavern, where Dom worked as a bar tender before his injury, was a celebration.
Dom told Fairfax Media that he was overwhelmed by the number of people who gathered to get behind him on Saturday.
“It was a massive show of support by a range of sectors of the community,” he said.
“I was expecting a couple of hundred [people], but word spreads quickly.
“As unfortunate as my injury was, in contrast I feel incredibly lucky – ironically – to have it happen to me in this community.
“I feel incredibly lucky to have this support around me.”
Meanwhile Springfest set Hinton alight on Saturday, with local music and great atmosphere – not bad for a fledgling festival in its second year.
Organiser Dan Burrows said the event was a “massive step up and progression” from the 2015 inaugural festival.
Later this week, Maitland Regional Art Gallery will host its annual fundraiser for a worthwhile program that helps Hunter people who suffer from dementia and their carers.
The Art and Dementia Program runs at the gallery every Tuesday and gives dementia sufferers and carers a creative outlet and a chance to connect and reignite memories.
These are just a few of the events and initiatives across the Maitland area that are worthy of widespread community support.