Koroit and district residents join forces to raise money for charity in local tradition

The late John Beard has left a lasting legacy in the Koroit district.

Mr Beard made jams and sauces when he retired which he sold to raise money for the Cancer Council.

When Mr Beard and his wife Helen moved into aged care, a group of women from the area continued the tradition. 

Kirky cooks: (left) Marlene Lenehan, Lindy (Midge) Hirniak and Jan Morgan with Kirkstall Hotel publican Tony Houlihan are selling homemade sauces, chutneys and jams to raise money for local charities. Picture: Anne Maree Maguire

Kirky cooks: (left) Marlene Lenehan, Lindy (Midge) Hirniak and Jan Morgan with Kirkstall Hotel publican Tony Houlihan are selling homemade sauces, chutneys and jams to raise money for local charities. Picture: Anne Maree Maguire

Sadly the couple have since died but the women have continued their legacy.

The self-confessed ‘Kirky cooks’ Lindy (Midge) Hirniak, Marlene Lenehan, Jan Morgan, Annie Toleman and Jan Roche make jams, sauces and chutneys. 

Mrs Hirniak said they would continue to raise money to help others in the community. “We picked up the baton,” she said.

They recently donated more than $620 they raised to the South West Healthcare prostate cancer detector appeal.

“We’re all cooking again, making sauces and chutneys,” Mrs Hirniak said. “We’re loving it and hoping to keep it going for the memory of John and Helen who were such community minded individuals. Everybody that met them loved them.” 

Mrs Hirniak said they used items from their own gardens and other residents have donated their home-grown plums, tomatoes and onions to make the products. “It’s a real community effort.”

The jams, sauces and preserves can be purchased from the Kirkstall Hotel and they will continue to donate the proceeds. 

“There’s always something (to donate to). We’re not going to box ourselves in to one local charity. We’ll see where the need is and go from there.” 

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