An unbreakable bond

A love for his community shines through when you meet born and bred Kyneton local Eric Scoble.
“It’s a bond with everyone in Kyneton, everyone seems to band together and stick together, it’s unbelievable,” he says.
Born in 1951, the middle child in a family of 14 children, Eric remembers fondly the generosity and kindness of the local butcher and baker and townsfolk who helped look after his family.
It is this respect for the loyalty of the community that inspires him to give back as much as he can, in his decades-long service to the annual Kyneton Daffodil and Arts Festival, as well as his past service to the junior football, junior soccer, little athletics, cycling and trotting sporting clubs, and service clubs including Lions.
And for all this, Eric has been recognised in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours with a Medal of the Order of Australia.
Eric is perhaps best known for his annual appearance on the streets of Kyneton as Father Christmas, together with a ‘reindeer’ and sometimes a Christmas elf helper (played by his wife Janet), spreading joy to children and families out shopping together.
His reindeer companions are played by some of the many farmyard animals he raises on his Laurimar Glen Farmstay property, usually a fawn, sometimes a miniature pony, but for the past few years a llama called Sunday.
‘Scobes’, as he is known to some, has been president of the daffodil festival since 2013 but has been on the committee for the past 20 years and involved in the event for more than 30 years.
“In 1999 my wife and I were King and Queen and after that it just grew on me,” he explains.
Eric runs the festival’s popular ferret races each year and sells daffodil bulbs to residents every day from March to May in preparation for the town’s blooming in September.
He also delivers wheelbarrows of daffodils to local shopkeepers to decorate the streets for the duration of the festival.
“I’ve been doing that for I don’t know how many years!” he laughs.
“It was just something that I dreamed of one day … wouldn’t it be nice to have pots of daffodils in a wheelbarrow.
“But it’s very time consuming to make up a wheelbarrow full, and it’s one thing to put them in pots and then plant them in wheelbarrows, but then you’ve got to look after them from April right through to September, and then hopefully they flower nicely for the festival.
“People love them and comment on them and it adds a bit of colour to the town.”
Eric met his wife Janet at a dance and the two have won many sashes in ballroom dancing all over Victoria. Together they have run the festival’s Old Time Ball for the past 12 years.
“My wife Janet is the love of my life, and is so supportive of everything I do,” Eric says.
In his many committee roles in local sporting clubs, Eric fostered the talents of dozens of young athletes, coaching many on to championship wins.
He is also a very talented raffle ticket seller and hopes to one day emulate the late, great, local identity and community volunteer, Leo Ramsdale.
“I’m a really good raffle ticket seller, and sometimes I reckoned I was better than Leo, but he would never have it,” he laughs.
“He said ‘no Pal, I’m the best, and that’s why you’ve always got to sit behind me, or beside me, never in front of me,’ and honestly Leo was an inspiration to everybody.
“If I could be half the bloke he was I would be happy.”

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