Northern Rivers farmer returns from drought relief convoy
LETITIA Mortimer said the memories she gained during a 1800km truck convoy to deliver bales of hay to drought stricken farmers in Queensland would "stay with me forever."
Ms Mortimer, whose family donated 300 bales of hay from their Buckmede property, north of Casino, said there were about 680 bales donated in total from families on the Northern Rivers.
They were transported on 13 trucks which left Burrumbuttock for Ilfracombe on March 31, adding to the convoy of 258 trucks and 406 trailers carrying $6 million dollars' worth of hay.
Ms Mortimer travelled with the convoy to see the hay delivered to "our fellow mates on the land doing it tough."
"This trip brought emotions I never thought I had," she said.
"As Brendan Farrell (the organiser) said "It would blow ya undies off" (and) this it did.
"It will be memories that will stay with me forever."
Ms Mortimer said when they arrived in Ilfracombe on Saturday, April 2, local farmers had come to meet the convoy to collect the hay, unaware of what else was waiting for them.
"(In a) surprise to them there were also truckloads of fresh fruit and vegies, tined food, personal items, stock feed everything you could think of," she said.
"These farmers came in unaware what was waiting for them and they were all so very thankful for what our fellow Aussies had done for them."
Ms Mortimer said one story she would never forget was of a young boy who came up to her and asked if there were any pairs of shorts.
She said she looked, but wasn't able to find any.
"What blew me away and made me quiet emotional was the fact that this little boy didn't want Easter eggs, lollies, pencils, colouring books, toys, he just wanted a pair of shorts," she said.
"This was a big wake up call for my son to realise it's not all about technology it's about cherishing what you already have because there may come a day when you have nothing left."
Ms Mortimer said she would like to say a huge thank you to the Mortimer, Parker, Hurfords and Norm Roach families from Casino and Kyogle as well as load driver Mark Baker and Brown and Hurley.
"To the community members that donated goods thankyou from the bottom of our hearts and from these farmers in need they appreciated it," she said. "Thankyou."