The members of Waggrakine Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade’s cadet unit have returned home triumphant after a stellar performance at the Australian Fire Cadet Championships in NSW.

The four-day event saw about 25 teams from across the country prove their prowess in a range of formal events and informal team-building activities.

This year’s event was appropriately set in more than 40ha of bushland at the Wesley Vision Valley Conference Centre in Arcadia, about 42km north-west of Sydney.

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The Waggrakine team of seven members aged 14-16 performed well across the competition, claiming second place in the Knapsack Response and first in the informal Funzone event.

While interstate, they also took the chance to see some of Sydney’s famous sites.

The trip was paid for by various fundraising efforts and donations, including an unprecedented $8000 grant from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services.

Other donors included Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn and politicians Ian Blayney, Melissa Price, Laurie Graham and Darren West.

“I was just super proud and happy for the support from the community,” Waggrakine cadet co-ordinator Scott Tiel said.

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“Without the support of the community, we wouldn’t have been able to take these kids from Geraldton all the way to the other side of the country.”

Mr Tiel said the event, organised by the NSW Rural Fire Service, was more about networking, camaraderie, teamwork and fun than winning.

Also representing WA were the Bunbury Volunteer Bushfire Brigade cadets.

The South West Slopes Rural Fire Service cadets (NSW) were the overall winners.

Adam Poulsen

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