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Hay ride to help western Queensland

Craig Zonca, Friday January 10, 2014 - 16:37 EDT
Audience submitted image
Hay being prepared for a journey to drought affected areas of Queensland - Audience submitted

Finding any form of happiness during a drought is a tough ask but that hasn't stopped one thoroughbred breeder from trying.

Stan Johnston from Craiglea Stud says he was prompted into action after hearing 10-year-old Kate describe what she was seeing on her family's property near Prairie, in the north Queensland.

"Well it's very dry and all the dams are nearly empty.

We have to sell all the cows because if we don't, we won't get enough money to buy all the polypipe to put water in," Kate told the Country Hour's Miriam Hall in November.

"I was coming home from the races at Townsville when I heard that and I thought 'well, maybe we can do something to help other kids like her'," says Mr Johnston.

He put out of a call through the School of the Air and in regional newspapers asking children to email if they needed hay for their horses.

"We got about 230-240 emails."

With help from his brother, a few friends and suppliers, Mr Johnston then organised hay and grain to take to north-west Queensland in between his race meeting commitments.

"Whether they're well-off people or really poor people it doesn't matter to us.

"It's the kids that have emailed us for some feed for their horses."

Since then, Mr Johnston has coordinated further donations and will head off on Saturday with 500 bales of hay and two-tonnes of grain for families in Dunkeld, Charleville, Quilpie, Adavale and Windorah.

Mr Johnston says the response so far has been particularly touching, especially when he's had the opportunity to meet the families of the children who had previously emailed.

"A lot of the mothers get really emotional, they're really genuinely pleased."

Mr Johnston is quick to pass on his thanks to those who have generously donated.

"I'm only part of the scheme and my family, we're in a lot of ways just a vehicle for everyone to be involved," he says.

Mr Johnston says his next mission will be to deliver hay and feed to families around St George and Cunnamulla.


- ABC

© ABC 2014

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