A CHARITY group at Rye is on a mission to help one of its own as he slowly recovers from a vicious axe attack at Rosebud Plaza in late August.
Friends and Supporters of Food For All are being urged to contribute towards the rehabilitation of long-time helper Gerry Hayes, who was nearly killed when a man struck him on the head with a tomahawk, Saturday 29 August (“Man charged over Rosebud attack” The News 30/8/20)
The offender, 48, of no fixed address, was restrained by brave bystanders in the shopping centre car park after also threatening people outside. He was later charged with two counts of attempted murder, two counts of intentionally causing serious injury, four counts of assault with a weapon, two counts of criminal damage and one of affray.
He appeared at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Monday 31 August and, after a committal mention on 10 November, was further remanded to appear at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court in February.
Southern Peninsula Food For All president Brian Allen urged supporters to back this “very special appeal for one of our volunteers”.
He said Mr Hayes, 63, was sitting at a table at the plaza prior to the attack. “Although Gerry has no recollection of the incident it appears he was struck with heavy blows on the top of his head with the back of a tomahawk,” Mr Allen said.
“His skull was fractured and his brain exposed. Seeing the incident, a bystander came to his aid and he, too, was attacked, also sustaining serious injuries to his body. An elderly woman came to assist Gerry but was so shocked by his injuries that she suffered a heart attack.
“Paramedics were quickly on the scene. Gerry’s injuries were so serious that he was flown by helicopter directly to The Alfred hospital where he underwent emergency surgery for his brain injury.”
Mr Hayes did not know his attacker nor had he had any contact with him.
His injuries were so serious that he was flown by helicopter to The Alfred for emergency surgery. He spent 10 days in intensive care and a further 21 days in the wards before being moved to Rosebud Hospital.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions his colleagues at Food For All were unaware until late October of Mr Hayes’ plight and that he had been moved to Rosebud.
Mr Allen says Mr Hayes is recovering and, while there seems to be minimal cognitive damage, he has ongoing motor difficulties, particularly in the right leg. He is about to be moved to supervised care at Safety Beach or Frankston.
After another operation at The Alfred in January he hopes to be able to return to his home of 30 years in Ocean Street, Rosebud, by late February.
However, National Disability Insurance Staff who inspected the house say it needs substantial work to bring it into a habitable condition, with essential repairs to cost at least $25,000.
“Our aim is to have essential work on the home completed by then,” Mr Allen said.
“We have a great deal of affection for Gerry who is a person who is himself in need, [yet] freely gave his time to assist others in need.”
While Food For All would like to help, its constitution precludes a cash donation to assist with the repairs to Mr Hayes’ home.
Supporters and members of Food For All are invited to donate to a trust account set up for Gerard Hayes and being administered by Ken Northwood and Barry Hodgkinson: Bendigo Bank Rosebud BSB 633000; Account 179585054.
Cheques should be made payable to “Gerard Hayes” and forwarded to Ken Northwood, PO box 277 McCrae.
First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 22 December 2020