Eight white reindeers complete with a red sleigh have been positioned in front of the Barossa Village residency are already bringing Christmas joy to Atze Parade, Nuriootpa and the wider community.
Barossa Village independent living unit resident, Roger Cridland together with maintenance co-ordinator, John Mayger have hand crafted and painted the eight foot high reindeers, making it the end result of a project that was born two years ago.
Roger said they initially sought plans for the reindeer in October, 2017 and while they slotted in their own Christmas display for 2018, they were all set for this year’s amazing masterpiece.
“I’d come in to work on my woodwork and we started talking about other things,” said Roger.
“It was a case of I wanted to do something here to repay Barossa Village for what they have done here and I didn’t know any other way of doing it.”
The last few years have been challenging for Roger, who was a resident at the residency before getting back on track to be able to move into his own independent unit with the continued support of Barossa Village.
“Six years ago I was told that I had dementia and other things that went with it and it is the woodwork that has kept me going,” said Roger.
“I was told to buy a lathe and then we started with scroll saws.
“When I came to the residency I didn’t have any tools to work with and it was Matt Kowald (general manager at the residency) that got me going again. He supported me and I got into the shed with John Mayger and we got on so well and that’s how it all evolved.
“If it wasn’t for John, I wouldn’t have been able to do it.”
It was a team effort for Roger and John and the duo are quite impressed with their efforts and are already putting plans in place for next year’s display.
They remain tight lipped on what those plans will be but are super excited to be able to get started on the next project early in the New Year.
“It has all been good fun… there was a time where we were fed up with them but it was a case it had to be done,” said Roger.
“It’s great to see them out there.”
Roger said seeing people’s faces is all the gratitude you need, especially with the children.
All the work was done in the Barossa Village maintenance workshop at the residency and the project was fully supported and funded by the organisation.