Willo Bats exhibition and auction

WILLO BATS: Will Clarke's restored and painted bats on display in the window at the Bookshop Bowral on Bong Bong Street. Photo: Lauren Strode.
WILLO BATS: Will Clarke's restored and painted bats on display in the window at the Bookshop Bowral on Bong Bong Street. Photo: Lauren Strode.

Will Clarke has started his own business, home-grown in the Highlands. 

Will has been recycling old cricket bats - and the result of his hard work is amazing.

Artists from across the country have painted bats that Will sourced and recycled himself. 

Will has Austism Spectrum Disorder and worked with the Men’s Shed in Bowral to give the bats a new life. 

The Bradman Museum will exhibit Willo Bats at the International Cricket Hall of Fame on February 17, where some of the bats will also be auctioned off.

The exhibition coincidentally coincided with a major milestone in Will’s life- his 21st birthday. 

There will be more than 50 bats in the exhibition and 10 will be auctioned off at the exhibition. 

Will’s mother Ange Clarke said certain bats were specially chosen for the live auction. 

“Bats painted by Peter Brown, Carol Elliott, Chevalier College and Melinda Eagan were chosen because each of them have a lovely story as to why they connected with William and we want to share those stories,” she said. 

Bats will also be auctioned online at http://willo.lnl.com.au/

The bats could be worth a lot of money, but the starting price will be accessible for everyone. 

“The bats will start at $20 so everyone has an opportunity to be involved,” Ange said. 

“Willo Bats have been all about contribution and care. Everyone has been excited to be involved and we want the bats to go to good homes, to people that really want them.”

Money raised at the auction Will be used to help Will set up his own business. 

“It’s very much a start up, initially it will be all about recycling the bats and then we will allow the business to find it’s way from there,” Ange said.

 Ange said her family needed to start a business for Will due to the limited work and career options for people living with a disability. 

Will’s story of hard work and success has travelled as far as Russia and stars like John Williamson have been in touch with the Clarkes to share their stories. 

“So many people have heard Will’s story and it has raised a massive amount of awareness about ability and disability, but I still think we have a very long way to go,” Ange said.