IT’S going to be a tough winter for local farmers as they move into the second consecutive cold season with little rain having hit the paddocks.
But, in a unique partnership and show of community spirit, the Scone Thoroughbreds Junior Rugby League Club is putting its best foot forward and jumping on board Rural Aid’s Buy A Bale campaign in the Upper Hunter.
They are donating all funds raised from raffle sales and donations at their Group 21 Gala Day on Saturday until the next home round on July 21 to the non-for-profit organisation, which delivers hay and supplies to drought-stricken farmers.
Junior league president Jason Croucher said the idea came from club member Yvonne Clerk, who helps run the canteen.
“We thought it was a good opportunity with all the clubs around Group 21 coming into Scone for the weekend to raise a little bit of money,” he said.
The committee then decided it would be more worthwhile to extend the raffle until July 21 in the hope they can generate more funds and buy a few more bales to help the farmers out.
“Just to see how dry everything is and the amount of hay that needs to be given to the animals to feed them – it’s unbelievable,” Croucher said.
It’s the first time a sporting club has come on board with Buy A Bale, according to Rural Aid’s Tracy Alder.
“We have delivered more than 3500 bales of hay to the Scone area in recent times which we are sourcing from near the Victorian border,” she said.
“It is by far the area where the most help has been provided in our history.
“It’s really nice to see a sporting club come on board, particularly with the kids and creating awareness.”
With about 300 registered kids in Group 21 from under-6s to under-11s as well as under-13s, under-15s and under-16s from Scone, Aberdeen, Denman, Muswellbrook, Singleton and Merriwa, the club is anticipating in excess of 1000 people on Saturday.
Raffle item donations are still coming in but so far include a barbeque and meat vouchers from Luck’s Premium Cuts, a load of timber for firewood, a hamper donated from Pat Gleeson Real Estate and a hamper from MacCallum Inglis.
“Any sort of donation or prize would be awesome,” Croucher said.
“Big or small it’s going to go a long way to helping everyone out.
“We are pretty fortunate that we have few of the older age groups playing on Saturday so that means a few more parents not just from Scone but in and around the Hunter.
“So it will be great if we can get as many people here particularly from the clubs from Group 21.”
Games will take place at both Scone Park and Murray Bain Oval with the first match at 8.30am and the day finishing 3pm.