Max Castor.ON Sunday it will be seven years since Swedish backpacker Max Castor seemingly vanished into thin air.
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He was 20 at the time and travelling around Australia.

After being seen in Warrnambool, there were several unconfirmed sightings along the Great Ocean Road and into the Otways, and his last known contact with his family was on April 21, 2005, when he sent an email.

On the same day his brother in Sweden received a parcel containing Max’s personal belongings, money and a letter.

He was last seen wearing a blue windcheater, white T-shirt, jeans, carrying a light blue backpack and a multi-coloured clutch bag.

Detective Senior Constable Dannielle O’Keefe led the investigation into his disappearance in Warrnambool at the time and said she wished she could report a happy ending.

She said police had asked for DNA from Max’s family but it was a procedural process undertaken in missing person cases to ensure an efficient match.

“At this point in time we’ve exhausted all avenues in terms of leads,” she said.

“I keep in regular contact with Max’s father Rolf and his family. We’d love for information that would lead to something more.

“For the family it’s extremely difficult. They have no control over their environment and are relying on someone to provide information.

“They’re a delightful family and they’re desperate for their son to come home.

“We would love a happy ending but it’s not the case unless there is more information that comes forward.”

For Max’s family life goes on despite a sadness hanging over them.

Next week his father Rolf will undergo heart surgery.

Speaking from Sweden, Rolf said he kept in touch with Max’s friends, who were now starting their own families.

“It’s like a type of sadness that is always there,” he said.

Rolf said there was a strong belief that Max was still alive and living in Australia.

“My hope that is that he has a good life in your country and that maybe when he has his own family he will make new contact with us,” he said.

Mr Castor said Max had nieces and nephews who were asking about him and revealed he had inherited money, which may be of use to him.

He pleaded that if anyone knew where Max was or saw him to ask him to call home.

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Reece MastinTELEVISION talent quest stars will dominate this year’s Fun4Kids Festival line-up.
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Buoyed by the enthusiastic response to Australia’s Got Talent winners Justice Crew at the 2011 event, organisers have signed up X Factor winner Reece Mastin, Australian Idol runner-up Jessica Mauboy, Australia’s Got Talent and So You Think You Can Dance contestant Timomatic, and Australia’s Got Talent runner-up Cosentino.

The TV-friendly roster has led organisers to label it “the biggest line-up in the event’s history”.

Festival director Luke Cann said the presence of Justice Crew — a hip-hop dance troupe — at last year’s Fun4Kids expanded the type of acts at the festival beyond the usual children’s entertainment seen there in the past.

“Fun4Kids has always had fantastic entertainment for the younger crowds and this will continue,” Mr Cann said.

“But by adding a new genre of performers to the mix we are catering for a bigger audience and it’s really helping the festival reach new heights.

“This line-up ensures Fun4Kids offers brilliant entertainment for all age groups.”

Reece Mastin won the third season of X Factor as a 17-year-old. His debut single Good Night went to number one in Australia, selling more than a quarter of a million copies.

Jessica Mauboy placed second behind Damien Leith in the 2006 Australian Idol competition. She has since released two studio albums, starred in the film Bran Nue Dae, and had 10 top-20 singles in Australia.

Timomatic — real name Tim Omaji — finished seventh in So You Think You Can Dance Australia in 2009 and third in Australia’s Got Talent in 2011, capitalising on a growing profile by signing a record deal with Sony, supporting Salt-n-Pepa on their Australian tour, and releasing a number-two single Set It Off.

Cosentino finished just ahead of Timomatic in Australia’s Got Talent but has been a hard-working illusionist for many years, regularly touring Australia with his magic show.

Tickets for Fun4Kids go on sale May 1. The festival runs from July 1-8.

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SARAH Bullen’s little finger hasn’t kept her from the big stage.
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After being sidelined from the semi-final with a broken finger, the Hampden White player will return to Western Regional State League tonight for the 17 and under decider against Hampden Green.

The 15-year-old caught her finger in an opposition player’s arm in a contest for the ball a couple of weeks ago.

“I broke it and couldn’t play in the semi,” she said.

The North Warrnambool Eagles netballer tested out her injury in last Sunday’s Hampden league pre-season cup and got through unscathed.

It means she will feature in tonight’s 17 and under state league grand final, which is a showdown between the two Hampden sides for the second consecutive year.

“I played in it last year and we lost,” Bullen said.

“This year we’ve really worked well together as a team and everyone’s improved so much compared to the start of the year.

“I think we’re pretty even across the whole court.”

White has only dropped one match, which was a two-goal loss to Hampden Green in round three.

“Then we won every other game and in the semi-final, we won against Green,” she said, referring to the 58-34 victory. “We had a game strategy and we stuck to it. Everybody just played so well together and it was probably our best game of the season.”

While Bullen was one of several Hampden players from both sides who were confined to the sidelines for the semi-final, she is hoping to have an impact in the midcourt tonight.

Coach Kate Kearney has used the Emmanuel College student in both wing attack and wing defence during the pre-season competition, with the latter an unfamiliar role for the teenager.

“The coach has been really good and helped me (learn the position),” Bullen said.

“Because I’m a wing attack, I’ve found it easier because I know where the person wants to go.”

Bullen described state league as an ideal pre-season. “I think it’s a real physical competition too, which has been good,” she said.

“It’s a good lead-up for the normal season.”

Bullen, who lives in Timboon, played one season at Camperdown before crossing to North Warrnambool Eagles.

She said her netball had benefited under the guidance of Eagles junior coaches Jackie Smedts and Dot Jenkins, who is in charge of Hampden Green tonight.

Green is coming off a preliminary final tussle with Warrnambool City, which it edged out by a goal.

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SEVEN footballers appear to be in limbo a week before their opening games of the season as District league clubs appear reluctant to challenge Port Fairy’s tough stance on contracted players.
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After Dennington’s failed appeals against clearance denials for Chris Vickey and Rocky Miller, fellow Warrnambool and District Football Netball League clubs Allansford and Merrivale are unlikely to follow a similar path in the pursuit of 2011 Port Fairy players.

That leaves Hampden league representative Sam Dwyer and Scott Kelly (both Merrivale) and Louis Fary and Sam Burchell (both Allansford) in limbo ahead of next week’s first round matches.

Terang Mortlake, which is hoping to secure Seagulls ruckman Robbie Hare, is yet to decide its course of action.

Dwyer is still aiming to play with Merrivale, but he is not confident he will be cleared after Dennington’s unsuccessful appeals.

If he doesn’t get a clearance, he said it was likely that he would have a season off football. “But I haven’t made a definite decision yet,” he said.

Kelly, who wanted to make it clear he had nothing against the Seagulls, said he wanted to play alongside his brother Brad and cousin James, who captains Merrivale.

“I played all my juniors at Merrivale and I just want to come back to play with my brother and my cousin Jimmy,” he said.

“I had five great years at Port Fairy and I have a lot of friends there. I don’t want this to be a ‘me against them’ thing.”

Kelly said he had been in regular contact with Port Fairy and would continue to talk with the Seagulls in the hope he could get to the Tigers this season.

Allansford football manager Glenn Byron said the Cats had ruled out appealing against the clearance knockbacks for Burchell and Fary.

He said the club had met the Seagulls and would continue discussions in the hope of reaching a solution.

“We are fully respectful of their position on the matter,” Byron said.

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Former national player Anna McIlroy with the Warrnambool Youth Girls football team. 120327DW26 Picture: DAMIAN WHITEBRING it on.
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That’s how the Warrnambool Youth Girls’ squad is feeling about its debut in the V/Line Cup, which kicks off on Sunday.

Co-coach Ken Radley, who is taking charge of the team with Daryl Mahoney, said the inaugural side could not wait to compete in the cup.

“They’re extremely excited and they’ve been fantastic to coach,” he said.

“They take instructions, they’re willing to listen and they really try and implement what we’re asking them to do.”

The group had a training session and jumper presentation at Reid Oval on Tuesday night, with top south-west female football export Anna McIlroy making a special visit. McIlroy, from Port Fairy, has retired after a decorated career that included representing Victoria five times and playing for Australia in the 2006 women’s international rules series in Ireland.

“The girls were just blown away by her,” Radley said.

“It was good for them to see just how far they can go with their footy, to play at international level.”

The co-coach said that McIlroy, who was itching to train on Tuesday but forgot her boots, spoke to the girls at the jumper presentation.

The side will have its final training session at Reid Oval tonight before its cup campaign starts on Sunday with a match against Geelong Youth Girls in Geelong West.

“They’ve been going for four or five years and obviously they’ve got a bigger catchment area,” Radley said of the first-round opponent.

“But we’ll show a good account of ourselves.

“The girls aren’t daunted about who they’re coming up against. They just think ‘bring it on’.”

Warrnambool Youth Girls have been training twice a week for more than a month, with numerous players travelling from the east of the Hampden region.

“Most of the girls are quite elite athletes already and have a high fitness level, so (training is) just about them getting used to the football and moving it up and down the ground,” Radley said.

He was pleased that the squad started training with a natural team mentality.

“There’s no big egos and everyone is thinking about everyone else,” he said.

“They’re a real team and everyone’s playing for each other, which is really refreshing.”

Radley applauded the south-west for embracing girls’ football.

“There’s been great support from the broader community,” he said.

Following Sunday’s clash with Geelong, Warrnambool will take on either Bendigo or Ballarat on Monday.

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REEVES captain Brad Hunt has described his side’s back-to-back Warrnambool Volleyball Association (WVA) triumphs as the end of an era.
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The team made it consecutive premierships on Tuesday night with a convincing 3-0 victory over Pirates in the division one grand final at Warrnambool Stadium.

Hunt expected Reeves to field a new-look line-up next season.

“There might be a bit of a mix-up next season and it won’t be the same team,” he said.

“We’ll probably start from scratch and bring up a few juniors. It’s a bit of an end of an era for the team, so it’s good to go out with a win.”

Minor premier Reeves rolled Pirates in three sets (25-17, 25-17, 25-18) on Tuesday night after entering the season decider as favourite.

“We didn’t really like that tag but I think we used it to our advantage,” Hunt said.

“They were thinking we were favourite, so we got on top early and they dropped their heads.”

After its victory in the opening set, Hunt believed Reeves had a mental edge over Pirates, which found it difficult to build momentum.

“We stopped them getting run-ons,” he said.

“They’ve got a couple of big hitters that we cut out.

“That really helped us get up.”

The skipper was full of praise for Reeves’ outside hitter Neville Hadley, who played an incredible match.

“He just played out of his skin and no one expected him to play like that,” he said.

“We knew he could but he really stepped up when it counted most.” Hunt, a centre blocker, said Reeves was focused on maintaining its intensity throughout the match.

“We pretty much kept the momentum going and were able to keep going at the level we were playing,” he said.

“They got a lead in the second set and were in front at one stage, but then we picked up and we kept the ball in play.

“We put the pressure on them.”

While Hadley received MVP honours, his teammate, setter Greg Best, took out the division one best and fairest award.

In the division two WVA final on Tuesday night, Pirates triumphed with a hard-fought 3-2 (14-25, 25-22, 25-18, 21-25, 15-6) victory over Buccaneers.

The MVP award went to Pam Lenehan, while Bec Cain claimed the best and fairest.

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Warrnambool Athletic Club president John Keats times junior runners Alistair Artz, 9, and Magen Keats, 9, ahead of the Winter Series. 120326DW34 Picture: DAMIAN WHITEFAMILIES, tie your shoelaces.
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The 2012 Warrnambool Athletic Club (WAC) Winter Series will cater for all ages, with the committee introducing junior races into this year’s program.

Club president John Keats hopes the schedule will appeal to youngsters.

“We’re adding a junior component to our program where we’re having four junior races spread throughout the year,” he said. “They’ll be three-kilometre runs, which are free for anyone who is under 16.”

The president said the junior races were part of a broader initiative to attract families to the club.

“We had great numbers over the Summer Series and we had quite a lot of kids in that,” he said.

“What we’re trying to do is make the club more family-oriented, so mum and dad can come along and have a run, then we’re catering for the kids too.”

The WAC Winter Series will start on Saturday with a five-kilometre race from the Jetty Flat clubrooms.

Keats urged newcomers to participate in the series.

“It’s not just for the seasoned runner, it’s for all types,” he said.

“We really want to encourage beginners, novices and the social runner.

“With our handicap system, it means that anyone can get up and win and that’s the beauty of it.”

The president believes there is a running boom, not only in Warrnambool but across the world.

“Our membership has been growing, which is fantastic,” he said.

“We’ve got around 80 and it would be great to get over 100.

“Given we had over 200 people in each individual race for our Summer Series, we would love to increase our membership.”

Families can join the club for $140, while an individual membership costs $80.

It includes entry to races and being eligible for prizemoney, plus other benefits.

Keats encouraged anyone who was interested to look at the club’s website.

The headline events of the Winter Series are the 5km Flaggy on June 24, which is a charity run, and the Crater2Coast Marathon Challenge.

The latter, on August 26, features the Koroit to Warrnambool Half-Marathon (21km), a marathon (42km) and an ultra marathon (50km).

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POLICE urgently want to speak to a Good Samaritan who saved an intellectually disabled Warrnambool youth who was robbed and twice stabbed by four attackers.
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The brazen daylight knifing happened on Sunday afternoon at a Merri River reserve off Tarhook Road and Manuka Drive.

The victim was slashed down his left forearm and suffered a cut to his right wrist. Two boys held him while the other two wielded knives.

They also took the 14-year-old’s MP3 player before a young girl screamed after witnessing the attack. That prompted her father to intervene and he saved the boy from further injuries.

Police now want to speak to that man who was described by the victim as having dark skin. The Good Samaritan is believed to be in his late 20s or early 30s and his daughter is understood to be aged between about 11 and 13 years.

Detective Senior Constable Richard Hughes, of the Warrnambool police crime investigation unit, said that between 1.30pm and 2pm on Sunday the victim went for a walk by himself with his football and MP3 player.

He walked along Tarhook Road and reached the Merri River reserve when he was approached by four youths believed to be aged between 15 and 17 years.

Detective Senior Constable Hughes said one of the youths had a small pocket knife and slashed the victim’s forearm.

He said the youths held the victim by the arms while he was repeatedly kicked and punched.

“Another youth had a kitchen type knife and made a small cut to the victim’s right wrist,” he said.

“The attackers also took the boy’s football and threw it into the nearby river. They also stole the victim’s MP3 player from his jeans pocket.

“This was a terrifying ordeal for the victim. Two youths have held him while the other two have stabbed him.”

Detective Senior Constable Hughes said the victim returned to his home about 4pm and used a towel to stop the bleeding.

“We are very keen to speak to the dark-skinned Good Samaritan who intervened after his daughter screamed,” he said.

“He came to the victim’s aid and the youths ran off. We would like any witnesses or anyone with information to contact the Warrnambool police station or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000,” he said.

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Launching the South West Healthcare aged persons’ mental health service online training program into delirium yesterday are (from left) Robyn Bamberg, Jodie Bateman, Russell Porter, Janet Punch and Tracey Gould.SOUTH West Healthcare’s (SWH) aged persons’ mental health service launched an online training program on delirium at South West TAFE yesterday.
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A Western Education and Training Cluster grant was awarded to the Warrnambool provider about 15 months ago to establish a staff development initiative.

The E-learning program is designed to help health professionals in western Victoria better identify people who have developed a mental state of confusion after contracting a physical illness or disorder.

SWH aged persons’ mental health service manager of 14 years, Russell Porter, said the program would benefit clinicians, triage staff and people working in acute health and residential aged care.

“We’re happy to share it with all groups in the Western cluster,” he said.

Mr Porter said common causes of delirium included infection, substance interaction and surgery and it could be contracted at any age but was most often seen in people over 65.

“It is common amongst the elderly everywhere,” he said.

“But it is under-recognised, therefore it is under-treated.

“What many people don’t know is it’s not a psychiatric disorder, it’s actually physical.

“It needs to be dealt with in hospital.”

Delirium can lead to increased hospital stays and fatalities if it is misdiagnosed, which is a burden on health services, Mr Porter said.

Symptoms can include disorientation, hallucinations, sleepiness, inattentiveness and short-term memory loss.

The program will be part of the South West Alliance of Rural Health’s online learning environment.

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Gareth Higgins is gaining experience working full-time at Logos A-Head in Warrnambool, as well as having his VCE design work (below) chosen for an exhibition at Melbourne Museum. IT’S not often a south-west student finds their work showcased in the same place as exhibition greats Tutankhamun, Phar Lap and the Titanic.
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But Warrnambool’s Gareth Higgins, 18, has contributed to annual VCE display Top Designs, which was launched at the Melbourne Museum on Saturday.

Top Designs is in its 12th year of collating a diverse range of works completed by Victorian year 11 and 12 students.

After submitting an assignment from unit four (year 12) visual communication and design at Brauer College last year, Mr Higgins was advised of his success in January.

He said were it not for encouragement from his teacher Glenda Stokes and parents, he would not have submitted his work.

“It’s pretty exciting,” he said.

“I wasn’t expecting it at all. I think mum was more excited than I was.”

Mr Higgins’ successful entry is a printed T-shirt, modelled on traditional surf brand wear and complete with a logo and tags.

It was one of 32 visual communication and design pieces that made the final selection after 88 were short-listed from 794 original applications.

Entries were also selected from other subjects, including media, food and technology and systems engineering, with each student’s folio and design plans a part of the exhibition.

Mr Higgins said he was unsure whether a career in design awaited him but he was gaining experience from working full-time at local business Logos A-Head.

“I might go to uni next year and do the Swinburne graphics design and commerce (course), a double degree,” he said. “I wanted to do chiropractic but I missed out by one I think.”

Mr Higgins attended a photo shoot and preview of the exhibition with his parents at the museum on Friday.

Top Designs runs until July 15.

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