Kyabram Free Press

Lions spread joy in outback NSW

- By Ivy Jensen

TONGALA Lions Club recently put some much-needed smiles on the faces of those in drought-ravaged Gulargambo­ne.

Ten members and a couple of Cubs travelled 750km to the outback NSW town to deliver the proceeds of a drought relief project carried out last year.

President Murray Ross said unlike others who had sent hay to droughtaff­ected areas, the club wanted to be a little more personal.

‘‘With a community like Tongala we wanted to support the community as well as the school in the town that are suffering long-term drought conditions,’’ he said.

‘‘We are aware our area is also in a waterless environmen­t but have not had the problem for the same length of time.

‘‘We will also care for the local community when needed.’’

Tongala Primary school students Harry King and Harvey Wright raised $1000 through drought relief appeals, which was matched by the Tongala Community Bank.

‘‘Harry wanted to travel with us and present their cheque to the school, explaining how the two boys raised the tremendous amount,’’ father and Lion Rob King said.

‘‘Harry talked on his school community and how he and Harvey raised the money to the teachers and students at

Gulargambo­ne.’’

The Tongala Ladies auxiliary added to the total of $5000, $3000 of which was presented to the school, which is planning a trip to Uluru for the students.

‘‘They really appreciate­d the funds as many families are struggling to send their children, which is planned as an enormous reward for students who have had to help on the farm and at home during the drought,’’ Murray said.

The balance was given to Gulargambo­ne Lions Club for its Shop Local program.

‘‘Local businesses are experienci­ng tough times, so the buy local campaign will encourage locals to support local businesses,’’ Murray said.

‘‘Gulargambo­ne is very similar to Tongala, struggling to create a sustainabl­e future competing against larger towns for a share of tourism promotion in the area and they work with the local council who encourage local initiative­s from smaller towns and support the town community.

‘‘Artists have created murals around the town like Tongala, with other ideas that enhance visitor enjoyment offering opportunit­y to stay a little longer and at the same time increasing business potential.’’

Murray, an artist himself, ran art workshops with the students who enjoyed a new art experience.

‘‘Of course we involved a dunny in the program,’’ Murray laughed.

The Tongala Lions provided and cooked lunch for the students and staff, with 180 sausages cooked to perfection, according to Lions cook Ken Chapman.

Members also enjoyed the company of the local Lions at a camp kitchen meal provided by the caravan park, with the proceeds going to the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

‘‘Now we reckon they will remember how Tongala Lions broke the drought because that night we had two and a half inches of rain and there were smiles all around,’’ Murray said.

 ??  ?? Tongala Lions Club travelled 750km to Gulargambo­ne.
Tongala Lions Club travelled 750km to Gulargambo­ne.

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