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Proposal holiday connects pair with Pericles

Garry Guley and Sammie Thake took their special engagement gift from Leon Pericles on a tour of the South West, in honour of Leon's wife and collaborator, Moira.
Garry Guley and Sammie Thake took their special engagement gift from Leon Pericles on a tour of the South West, in honour of Leon's wife and collaborator, Moira.

A newly engaged couple recently celebrating a special proposal in the region have shared a special tour inspired by one of Australia's finest and most respected artists.

Sammie Thake and Garry Guley had just become engaged over lunch at Vasse Felix when they visited the studio of Leon Pericles as part of their tour with local guide, Sullivan McLeod.

Upon hearing their news, the revered artist gifted them a copy of his 'Etching For Moi', a work created by Pericles to honour his wife Moira, who lives with Alzheimer's disease.

A quick stop by the water on the South West coast.

A quick stop by the water on the South West coast.

Sale proceeds from copies of the etching are donated directly to the Australian Alzheimer's Research Foundation, with over $100,000 raised so far to aid research.

The much-applauded documentary 'Storm in a Teacup', directed by daughter Nia Pericles, follows the couple's challenges navigating the disease.

Ms Thake, who studies Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology and is currently writing a report on the Psychology of Aging, said the couple's visit to the Pericles home dominated most of their conversation later that evening.

"My fiance Garry has a grandfather in an assisted living facility in Hamilton Hill and has not been able to physically visit home since COVID hit us last year," Ms Thake explained.

"He too suffers with dementia, making it difficult to have a conversation with him over the phone as he can't see a face.

"Garry longs to be able to see him, but unfortunately they only allow one nominated family member to visit and that person is Garry's mum.

"So while we send him gifts and care items in with her, it has been difficult for Garry and his children to not see their grandfather and great-grandfather in such a long time."

Following their tour and studio visit and over dinner and a bottle of Margaret River wine, the pair hatched a plan to show their appreciation for the generous gift of the etching.

"We are not so creative in the arts ourselves, but thought it might be a nice way of showing our appreciation by dedicating a whole day to Moi."

"So on the Sunday we had an 'Adventure for Moi' day, taking the etching along for the ride."

'Moi' started her day with a takeaway coffee from Yahava Koffeeworks, tried the carrot cake at Kingston Bakery before heading south on Caves Road.

"Her first stop was at the beautiful and picturesque Hamelin Bay.

"There she sat on the beach with her sun hat and watch the children and seagulls play in the sand.

The precious gift was taken on a comprehensive tour of the Margaret River region by the couple.

The precious gift was taken on a comprehensive tour of the Margaret River region by the couple.

"She then made her way through Boranup Forest, taking advantage of the gorgeous wildflowers."

The couple and 'Moi' then headed back to Margaret River for lunch and a stop at the Margaret River Sweet Shop for "something naughty" for dessert.

"She couldn't resist making her way into the Margaret River Bookshop to meet [tour guide Sully's] Dad and check out the book he wrote, before a quick look at the market stalls," said Ms Thake.

They made a stop at the Margaret River Venison Farm to taste the local produce, and sampled wines at Howard Park Estate, Vasse Felix, Cullen Wines and Gralyn Estate.

"She was still feeling a little bit peckish, so stopped in at Swings and Roundabouts for one of their famous wood-fired pizzas and a glass of cane cut," Ms Thake continued.

"It wasn't all about wine and food - we made a stop at Canal Rocks to check out the bird and sea life, with some beautiful humpback whales displaying their acrobatic skills.

"It was a good day to be out and about enjoying the freedom once again, if only in her honour."

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