SNAKE VALLEY author Noel Hayes spends six months of the year travelling Australia in his caravan and learning about people's stories.
Hayes and his wife have travelled about 260,000-kilometres since 2007. During their time on the road, Hayes researches and writes stories about notable events or people in history and collates them into a book alongside poems about people he meets while on the road.
Earlier in life, Hayes coached a lot of football across Victoria and New South Wales and even held the titles of president and director of the Victorian Country Football League. And it was through these roles that he began to learn about people's stories - and how to tell them.
Hayes has so far written ten books on subjects such as bush rangers, the greatest speeches by world leaders, the early rail roads of Victoria and the history of Deniliquin, with all proceeds from their sales donated to different charities - from Rotary and Probus Clubs to hospices - across Australia.
While donating a book to Colac Hospice, Hayes heard Jeremy McKnight and Clare Hepper speaking about the Creswick-based end of life charity Shannon's Bridge. And it was then that he knew where the proceeds from his next book - Federation 1901-1996: Tales of our early Prime Ministers and other stories - would be donated to.
Read more: End of life hub opens in Creswick
At 76, Hayes still runs the plumbing and asbestos removal business he has had for more than 40 years and said he reaped a huge reward from writing and donating the proceeds of his books to charities.
Your health is your wealth. Who needs money? It doesn't matter. It keeps me alive - writing the books keeps me young.Noel Hayes
"There are so many volunteers who do so much unrecognisable work in communities all over Australia. And the more you travel, the more you see it."
Jo Dalton, of the Shannon's Bridge Foundation, said Hayes was an incredible person for putting so much time and effort into writing and publishing a book with his own money only to donate all proceeds he would make from sales to charities.
A page of the book explains Shannon's Bridge and the work it does around end-of-life care - from art and animal therapy to massage and yoga - and grief bereavement for loved ones.
"He is a wonderful man and this is also a great opportunity for us to get the Shannon's Bridge name out there to people who may not have heard of us or had the need to."
This is Hayes' first time giving a book to a charity in the Ballarat region and he is excited to provide a platform to raise awareness of what Shannon's Bridge does.
The book will be launched on June 17 at Creswick Primary School from 7pm. RSVP by June 12 to firstname.lastname@example.org
The book is also available for purchase at the Shannon's Bridge hub at 94 Albert Street, Creswick.