Our Stars


Zac Carson

Zac grew up in Port Stephens and the Great Lakes area before residing in Newcastle in 2016, since than he cannot get enough of the town he now calls home.

Some of his achievements include landing one of his photos in The Herald for their Summer photo comp many years ago, not finishing last in local mountain biking and triathlon and completing his Bachelor’s Degree in Construction Management at Newcastle Uni. But he believes his biggest achievement is being able to wake up every morning in such a beautiful location.

During the week and an occasional Saturday he works for Hansen Yuncken as a Site Engineer. When he’s not working, you’ll find Zac out and about, staying active, waterskiing and spending time with his family and friends. When Hansen Yuncken asked if he wanted to represent them and become a Star of Newcastle he jumped at the opportunity to raise awareness and funds for a great cause all while learning how to dance.




Originally hailing from a small country town in the Central West of New South Wales, a move to the ‘big city’ in her formative years saw Timberlina dabbled in all things dance and drama.

After short hiatus from the limelight, Timberlina was re-born in spectacular style and glittery glory in early 2017, and continues to be an ever-evolving chameleon of the performance and hosting world.
Timberlina’s over-the-top style and dazzling repertoire, coupled with her naughty quick wit, will keep you fabulously entertained for hours.

You can catch her at her regular gig at The Beaumont Hamilton, Newcastle.

“The cancer council does the most amazing things for the community, and I believe that I can help make a difference, this is why I am doing STARS of Newcastle, says Timberlina!”


Jess Farchione

Jess made the move to Newcastle from regional Victoria in January 2018 to step up her radio career on HIT106.9’s Breakfast Show. She now proudly calls Newcastle home and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

Working in breakfast radio for almost four years has granted Jess some pretty extraordinary opportunities, but nothing gives her greater joy than giving back to, and engaging with the community she loves.

Having had family and friends lose their battles with cancer makes raising money incredibly personal already but hearing first hand how the Cancer Council and their volunteers were an incredible support for her friend and colleague, Dani, whilst she battled and beat breast cancer, just reiterates how vital their services are.


Nikita Panicker

Nikita has been a Novocastrian for over 20 years and is currently a PhD researcher at the University of Newcastle, working in the Molecular Oncology group. The laboratory aims to learn more about many cancer types and under my supervisor, Dr Nikki Verrills, with her work focussing on breast cancer and finding better strategies to help patients who respond poorly to current treatments.

The oncology group has received funding from the Cancer Council in the past, which has been a huge support in allowing us to conduct further research. Nikita feels immensely proud and excited to have the opportunity to reciprocate by fundraising for the Cancer Council, so that more people can benefit from their vital work in prevention, research and support for cancer patients and their families.

Outside of the lab she loves to dance and choreograph. Nikita been trained as an Indian classical dancer and knows the passion and dedication it takes to be a dancer and she can’t wait to step outside her comfort zone channel these into this new challenge.


Jeni Steep

Jeni first fell in love with Movement 4 years ago when she stumbled across a place called The Movement Collective (created by Rod Cooper).

It wasn’t long before she realised it wasn’t just the movement that had inspired her, movement was just the beginning and it became the catalyst for other positive changes outside the physical body.

After 2 years of training and making so many positive changes in her own life she decided to make plans to ditch the high paying mining gig and follow a career with meaning she took on her certificate of fitness and yoga teacher training so she could become a full time instructor, she wanted to help others make positive changes in their lives too.

Some of Jeni’s hobbies include hand balancing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, surfing, Gymnastics, Bouldering and Yoga.

This year Jeni will continue to teach at The Movement Collective but also plans to launch her own clothing line and host a variety of different retreats including women’s empowerment and retreats with Rod Cooper (now her partner) movement/surfing and also couples reconnection retreats.


Nerida Bint

Nerida founded Lissome 4 years ago that has now grown into NSW biggest women’s only gym. She is very passionate about helping women to realise their full potential and loves helping women get fit and strong and encourage them to accept each other wholeheartedly.

Born and bred Novocastrian, Nerida is the eldest of 3 and has a partner whom I adore dearly. Growing up watching my parents, who are hearing impaired, often experience isolation and not be included in communities or social groups and the effect that had on them, gave me a huge sense of injustice to anyone being an outcast and that I wanted to create a place where everyone would belong, no matter what.

Nerida’s motivation for doing this is are two fold.
She is hugely passionate about doing what she can to contribute to those in need. She believes the world needs more people who are capable helping those who are disadvantaged, sick or traumatized. We all have a responsibility to look after each other.


Anthony Piggott

Born and bred in Newcastle, living in Warners Bay, New Lambton and now Georgetown. I have grown up with Pharmacy around me my whole life. Both my parents are Pharmacists and many of my earliest memories were playing with cardboard boxes out the back of Charlestown Square Soul Pattinson Chemist.

I now own 5 Piggott’s Pharmacies across the Hunter with my family and managers. Having a close relationship with people throughout our community is my greatest privilege.

My passion is flying and adventuring having obtained my pilot license and travelling to over 60 countries. Otherwise, I enjoy nothing more than playing with my beautiful 4 year old daughter in the pool.

Cancer affects all. I see it within my family, friends and the community. What a great chance to challenge myself and raise as much as possible to combat cancer.


Emma Black

Emma Black of Harcourts Newcastle is our “Donna”. She’s the Office Manager, the mastermind, she’s creative, articulate in her work and armed with knowledge. She hopes every client has a beautiful and nurturing experience whilst buying and/or selling their home with Harcourts Newcastle.

Originally from the Hunter Valley and working in Conveyancing, Emma’s love of property, desire to help people, lust of home styling and renovation, she decided to move Newcastle 10 years ago to study Business Management and gained her certificate required to enter a new classification of work being real estate.
Admired for her loyalty, strength and soft spirit, this is truly reflected in Emma’s beautiful imagery with another passion of hers being photography.

She is a very proud Mum of two boys, her complete heart and soul. They enjoy all things beach, footy, dancing, singing, giggling together until their sides hurt.

Unfortunately, Cancer is too close to home for so many people we love and care for. Sparking Emma’s inspiration to dance and support and along with so many lovely Newcastle individuals, she hopes the community’s generosity throughout this wonderful event and campaign will make a different in the research and support for The Cancer Council. Knowing that someone, somewhere local will benefit from this makes Emma so happy.


Scott Bevan

Scott has been kind of tap dancing for most of his career, as he (clumsily) choreographs his role as a writer, journalist and broadcaster.

Scott is the author of five books, the most recent being The Harbour, and he’s written a couple of plays that have been produced.

For many years, Scott was a TV reporter and presenter, including a stint as the ABC’s Moscow Correspondent (where he had many wonderful experiences but, alas, didn’t learn to dance like a Cossack). He has also presented and produced a number of television documentaries including Arthur Phillip: Governor, Sailor, Spy for the ABC in 2015.

At the end of 2016, Scott returned to his home region of the Hunter, taking a job at The Newcastle Herald, where he writes the ‘Breaking Bread’ column, which is really just an excuse to meet interesting people over lunch.

When he’s not writing, Scott enjoys playing music, kayaking, and supporting the Hunter’s wine industry – but usually not at the same time – and, above all, hanging out with his wife Jo and their two sons.

Scott is participating in Stars of Newcastle to honour his younger brother, Matthew, who died of cancer in June 2018. 


Lauren Drinkwater

Lauren Drinkwater has been out and about behind the lens of an NBN News camera, capturing all that is happening in the Hunter.

She is an enthusiastic, motivated individual who dives head first into life.

Born and bred in Lake Macquarie, Lauren’s life has always centered around the beautiful Lake and all the activities that come with it.

Keen to be part of the cancer councils stars of Newcastle hoping to raise funds and more awareness of the work the cancer council does, members of her own family have battled various forms of cancer some are cancer survivors and some are still fighting the fight.


Dave Eddy

Let's get one thing straight – Dave Eddy was born to be a dancing star.
Growing up in tiny mining towns like Mount Isa, Cobar and Parkes, he's never really had the chance to let his booty-shaking talents into the big time... until now.

Dave has now lived in Newcastle for just over a decade and these days he is no stranger to the performing spotlight. His greatest career accomplishment to date came in 2017 when his slightly pudgy 130kg frame earned him a finalist spot in BudgySmuggler's Australia's Most Ordinary Rig competition. (Wanna feast your eyes? Google it!)

When he's not strutting around in BudgySmugglers, he's juggling. Juggling jobs that is! His real world jobs include: Being owner/director/boss-man of two Newy-based digital agencies (Vicinity Marketing and Redback Solutions), and being co-founder/CMO of international caravan sharing platform, Camplify. His other job, perhaps the most critical, is doing exactly what his beautiful wife Helena tells him to do... at all times!

Like most people, Dave has had close ones affected by cancer and he’s honoured to be shaking his rig to help support the great work being done by the team at Cancer Council NSW.


Alfie Gil

Alfie is a 47 year old paramedic of 10 years with a 19yo daughter. He enjoys yoga, coffee is an expert napper. Living in Newcastle for over 10 years he says he is lucky enough to have met and helped many locals in need along-side his awesome colleagues, nurses and doctors who inspire him daily. Yoga is a huge part of his life, but dancing not so much. Alfie recently completed his Yoga Teacher Training and teaches in and around Newcastle. The last dance move he performed was the worm circa 1992. Alfie says he is looking for a challenge and a way to give back to the community. Having recently being touch by so many stories of young women who have lost their lives to cancer this opportunity seems like the perfect chance to embrace some fears and raise awareness of cancer.


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