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Prince Charles sends letters of support to Australian farmers battling drought

Isabella Pittaway, Friday October 12, 2018 - 12:14 EDT
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Victorian farmer Tim Paulet plans to hang his letter from Prince Charles in his shearing shed. - ABC

It has been a tough year for Australia's farmers, but a small gesture can go a long way — especially when it's from a future king.

The Prince of Wales has written letters of support to sheep farmers across Australia who have been battling drought.

One of the letters caught Tim Paulet, from eastern Victoria, by surprise.

"I flicked the kettle on and thought I'd make a start on the mail and this [letter] looked interesting, so I opened it up and I got a bit of a surprise — it's a letter from the prince himself, Prince Charles," Mr Paulet said.

"I thought to myself 'well hang on a minute, he's on the other side of the world and he's recognised there's dry times in Gippsland'."

Mr Paulet said the letter lifted his spirit and hoped it would further the awareness of the drought many farmers were facing.

Prince Charles wrote that as a sheep farmer himself, he was thinking about Australia's farmers who were doing it tough.

"I have been greatly saddened to witness one of Australian Merino's most successful seasons in recent years being marred by, perhaps, the worst drought on record in the wool growing regions of New South Wales and in parts of Victoria, Queensland and South Australia," he wrote.

"As a sheep farmer myself, I cannot begin to imagine the anguish that those of you who have been affected by this climatic tragedy must be facing."

Letter lifts spirits

"There was genuine surprise," Mr Paulet said.

"We're nowhere near as badly impacted as people, as he says, in Queensland and New South Wales," Mr Paulet said.

"Prince Charles has obviously got a lot more sway and public influence than your average wool grower in Australia, so I just hope it can be turned into a positive."

Mr Paulet's family often thought that it would be his grandmother, who is in her mid-90s, who would receive a letter from royalty, but he had managed that feat before her.

"Yeah so I've beaten my grandma," Mr Paulet said.

"We've received a letter from royalty and I think it will be a running joke around the next Christmas table function."

Letter straight to the shearing shed

Mr Paulet said he planned to hang the letter in his shearing shed for generations to come.

"This letter will be put in a frame and I intend to hang it in the quarters of the shearing shed," he said.

"It'll be on permanent display and be there as a reminder.

"The good times will come again and this can be a reminder that [at] one time things were a bit tough and royalty from the other side of the world showed an interest."


© ABC 2018

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