Award winning over 50’s lifestyle community Seachange Village recently held an Art and Craft Exhibition where the announcement of the winner was far more touching than they could have anticipated.
The recognition of the overall prize winner brought to light a heartfelt connection between himself and the late resident it was named in honour of.
The major prize was the Neil Johnson Perpetual Award, which was presented to 63-year old former solicitor, John Pye, for his handmade sailing boats and plane.
Neil’s wife, Lyn Johnson, said her husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008 and they moved to the secure community of Seachange in 2010.
“In April that year, I approached the Seachange art teacher to start painting,” Ms Johnson says.
“After showing Neil my first painting, he took painting up himself and began using it as a coping mechanism for his illness; but he also happened very good at it.
“Neil’s passion was painting outback pubs. Of his 16 paintings, 13 were pubs. Some he had visited, some he had driven past, others he searched online.
“He even launched a website www.aussiepubart.com.au which is still open today.”
Overall winner, John Pye said he was also diagnosed with cancer and in the time he knew Neil, they spoke about their illnesses and supported each other where they could.
“Not long after I was diagnosed with terminal cancer, a friend encouraged me to try my hand at wood craft and this led to me building my first boat,” Mr Pye says.
“I hadn’t done anything like this before and for the most part it was self-taught along the way.
“When I was named the winner of the Neil Johnson Perpetual Award I was extremely honoured. I was really taken back and it certainly struck a chord.”
Seachange Village resident events coordinator Diane Dawson says paintings, needlework, quilts, craft and woodwork filled the country club on the day.
“Four prizes were awarded at the event, with John winning two of the categories for his excellent woodwork pieces,” Ms Dawson says.
“Best Artwork went to Di King for her acrylic on canvas work, ‘Menindee Lakes’, and the Judge’s Prize went to Helen Leslie for ‘Nigella’, which was also an acrylic on canvas piece.
“In addition to the Neil Johnson Perpetual Award, John won Best Craft/Woodwork for his handmade sailing boats and plane.”
Ms Dawson says it was an exciting day for the 100 people who attended and the entire event truly exceeded everyone’s expectations.
“The displays on the day were just amazing and so diverse, which meant that there was something to suit everybody’s taste,” Ms Dawson says.
“Overall, there was a really good atmosphere, which was enhanced by the string quartet playing tunes throughout the afternoon.”
At the heart of Seachange Village is the multi-million dollar residents-only, 5-star country club, which includes the most extensive selection of social, recreational and educational facilities available in any over 50’s lifestyle community resort.
Seachange Marketing Manager, Daniel Otto said both the quantity and quality of pieces on display was quite overwhelming and proof that Seachange Village delivers on its vision to provide residents with one-of-a-kind, first class recreational facilities.
“The country club provides residents with the opportunity to experience first-hand, any previously undiscovered talents. Very simply, we offer each resident with the education and framework that enables them to express themselves in ways they may not have been able to, outside the village.”
“It is of equal importance to us that we offer all residents, whether working or retired, the facilities and support to continue their life-long hobbies and interests within the secured Seachange community.”
The Seachange, 5-Star Country Club also boasts a performance stage & dance floor, a competition size lawn bowls green, club lounge & dining room, meeting & boardrooms, outdoor BBQ terrace, sports bar lounge and kitchen, croquet lawn, wine cellar and a library.
For more information or to attend a free morning tea, visit the Welcome Centre at 299 Napper Road, Arundel,