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Clonbinane resident and community radio host Julian Hickford remembered

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IT has often been said that it is not about the number of years on this earth, it’s about how we live those years. Clonbinane resident, Julian Hickford, was an excellent example of years well lived.

His life was packed with community activity and adventure from a young age. Mr Hickford served as a member of Victoria Police and after his retirement as a volunteer on many local community projects.

Many will not have met Mr Hickford but will recognise him by his radio fit voice on community radio station OKRFM, where he presented the popular Rambles program with the late Roger Fletcher for nearly 10 years.

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He hosted the program twice weekly during which time he interviewed people ranging from politicians, healthcare workers and other notable people from the local area. Many community groups relied on Rambles to get their message out.

In 2011-2012 Mr Hickford undertook volunteer work by regularly taking his beloved dog Sam to visit the residents in aged care at Dianella in Kilmore, which was greatly appreciated by the residents.

Also starting in 2011 Mr Hickford became an instructor of the Wallan-based Learner Training Program, LTP, whichhe continued for close to nine years until COVID and failing health forced him to stop.

LTP is a mentor program assisting eligible learner drivers to attain their 120 hours. During his time he clocked up 1400 volunteer hours and boasted a 100 per cent success rate with the young drivers he mentored to licence test level.

To know and understand what drove Mr Hickford, it is important to know the child who grew up in England and South America during the late 1940s and into the 1960s.

Mr Hickford was born in Newmarket on January 31 1946, the eldest of three children.

In July the same year, Mr Hickford’s parents travelled with him as a baby to Buenos Aires, Argentina for his father to work in a senior position on the railways. They remained there for three to four years before an uprising saw the family move to La Paz, Bolivia.

They stayed there for two years and then as a result of another uprising they moved to Oroya, a small mining town 1200ft up in the Andes in Peru.

Speaking with Mr Hickford before he passed, it was clear those formative years in South America played a big part in forming the man that many knew and loved.

While his family remained in Peru in the early 1960s, at age 14 Mr Hickford was sent to Eastbourne boarding school in England for two years due to the lack of schooling options in Peru at the time.

Despite serving as school captain, Mr Hickford found the restrictions of boarding school hard to deal with and was happy to board a ship for a new life in Australia.

He left Southampton in 1963, aged 17, as part of the Big Brother movement consisting of 15 boys on the Fairsky disembarking in Sydney after four weeks at sea.

From there Mr Hickford moved to Corowa and worked on a sheep farm for about two years until he bought a car and started travelling.

He signed up for the police force at a recruiting campaign in Albury Wodonga and was sworn in on May 8, 1967, serving for 14 years stationed at Flemington and Broadmeadows.

In 2002, Mr Hickford suffered a major heart attack that he was fortunate to survive. He continued to live life to the fullest despite that heart attack and his failing health brought about the onset of Parkinson’s disease some years later.

His relentless battle against Parkinson’s and its associated complications has been described as truly inspirational.

Mr Hickford died on December 31, 2021 after suffering a fatal heart attack. He is survived by this wife Danielle.

He was farewelled at a service at Kilmore Golf Club on Friday attended by family and friends. The service was also live streamed to family members in England.

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