TOPICS: Chard’s hard yards

IT’S game-on for our Newcastle geek who will try to outwit rather than erm ... out style his way to the prize money on Beauty and the Geek tonight. 

The grand final will see four couples, including the former University of Newcastle mechanical engineer student Richard ‘Chard’ Oldfield, compete for cash and a new car. 

The winning couple will take home $100,000 to share and a Holden Barina each. 

Here’s why Topics thinks Chard deserves to claim geek victory.

1. His nickname is Chard. Rick, Ricky, The Rickster we get. But Chard? That’s a pretty uncool nickname to be stuck with for adult life.

2. His partner in the series, Millie, is a professional bra-fitter and one TV columnist wrote ‘‘logs in the forest are smarter’’. Our man has done some hard yards in the elimination quizzes.

3. He cut his hair for the series. No geek was more attached to his long red locks. 

4. All his female acquaintances are ‘‘friends’’. Chard told Topics he has been stuck in the friend zone his whole life. There’s nothing like a reality television title and a bit of cash to spark some female interest.

5. Because all the Novocastrians are doing it. This year the Hunter has taken out reality television titles on Masterchef and The Block. Chard from Whitebridge would be lucky number three. 

The 2012 season final screens on Prime7 at 8.30pm. 

 Herald’s a lifelong habit

JACK McAulay has subscribed to the Newcastle Herald for a lifetime – 80 years to be exact.

Topics put the call out on Saturday to find the Herald’s longest-serving readers. We ran a story thanking two women who have clocked up 60 years and wanted to find more.

Mr McAulay, who is about to turn 92, has read the paper since he was 12.

‘‘I’ve read it ever since I was a kid at school. My parents had it delivered every morning to our Mayfield home,’’ he said.

Mr McAulay, who was the power plant foreman at BHP for a decade, gets the paper delivered to his Waratah West home daily and reads it from cover to cover.

He likes the news and sport, and he’s not too manly to enjoy the wedding pictures on Mondays.

Elsie Turnbull, 93, also gained her love of newspapers from her parents, who were subscribers.

When she married her husband Frederick in 1939 the couple starting getting the paper delivered to their Maitland home. Mrs Turnbull is so dedicated that she still gets the paper delivered to her home in Shoal Bay despite having many operations for macular degeneration.

She was recovering from an operation this week when Topics called. 

‘‘Just a day or two and I’ll be back reading my Herald,’’ she told Topics.

Topics has a soft spot for Mrs Turnbull because we are suckers for a bit of flattery.

Her favourite section is ‘‘Topics of course’’.

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