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Doughnut smiles span the miles for isolated families

If you close your eyes and imagine a truly delicious doughnut, with a soft, buttery interior and a crisp cinnamon sugar exterior, the ones on offer each year at Newdegate Machinery Field Days may spring to mind.

In an unassuming shed near the Field Days’ 1921 Lanz tractor and the Newdegate Railway Station,those wandering the grounds can find stacks of freshly made doughnuts lovingly dipped in a perfect mix of cinnamon sugar by passionate volunteers.

The stall is run by the Lakes Districts branch of the Isolated Children’s Parents Association, with the help of plenty of friends and family.

Newdegate farmer and IPCA Lakes District president Claire Walter has co-ordinated the stall for the past four years, and said this year’s bounty had involved 179kg of flour, 17kg of cinnamon sugar and 100 litres of oil — to sell about 5000 doughnuts.

About 40 people make their way in and out of the sheds to make doughnuts during the two-day event, with seamless, 21/2-hour shifts.

With three children of her own, Ms Walter said she was sparked into action and joined the IPCA Lakes District branch about seven years ago when her eldest son, Jack, went to boarding school.

“I just thought it was a really good cause,” she said.

Newdegate Machinery Field Days donut stall chief donut maker Ross Dunkeld, of Lake King, and chief donut sugar coater Liam Thompson, of Newdegate, with volunteers Lynette Gittos, of Busselton, MacKenzie Turner, of Newdegate, and Skye O'Shannessy.Newdegate Machinery Field Days donut stall chief donut maker Ross Dunkeld, of Lake King, and chief donut sugar coater Liam Thompson, of Newdegate, with volunteers Lynette Gittos, of Busselton, MacKenzie Turner, of Newdegate, and Skye O'Shannessy.
Camera IconNewdegate Machinery Field Days donut stall chief donut maker Ross Dunkeld, of Lake King, and chief donut sugar coater Liam Thompson, of Newdegate, with volunteers Lynette Gittos, of Busselton, MacKenzie Turner, of Newdegate, and Skye O’Shannessy.Picture: Cally Dupe

The doughnut stall is our only fundraiser a year, and the Lakes District is one of the biggest branches in WA.

Most of the funds raised are used to send IPCA members to Perth and interstate for the annual IPCA State and Federal conferences, which, Ms Walter said, made sure the Lakes District “had a voice”.

“A lot of people think we are not isolated here, but you don’t have to live on a cattle station to be isolated,” Ms Walter said.

“I think isolated in terms of education is all rural areas, including anyone that has to fork out to send their child to boarding school.”

And what is the secret to making a good doughnut?

“The secret is having really hot oil, but there is also a lot of love that goes into them,” Ms Walter said.

“You need a cook to make the dough, someone to fry them, someone to do the sugar coating, and a money taker.

“We have a lot of fun.”

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