Secret yields Maureen a prize pumpkin

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CHAMPION: Murmungee’s Maureen Rae was surprised but as pleased as punch with her prize-winning pumpkin at the Murmungee Pumpkin Festival on Saturday. PHOTO: Jamie Kronborg

A HOMETOWN girl with a home-grown pumpkin on Saturday won the Murmungee Pumpkin Festival with 51-kilogram champion.

Maureen Rae is like many who farm this extraordinary landscape – some of Victoria’s prime grazing land – where there’s no town but a community with a thumping heart.

She is always among the first to lend a hand to organise events and celebrations.

And so it was late last year in Beechworth’s Anglican churchyard.

Perched with a badly broken leg in a wheelchair at Beechworth’s monthly farmers’ market, Maureen was sowing interest in the annual pumpkin festival by handing out pumpkin seedlings in exchange for a donation to Murmungee-Bowmans’ top annual fundraising cause.

“I had some seedlings left over from doing the promotions at the markets, so I finally stuck them in the ground,” she said.

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