Drought broadens Muster rural aid appeal


LONG standing Muster patrons will remember Aussie legend John Farnham launching the first Rural Aid Appeal in a spectacular live performance at the event in the rain! It was 1993 and Australia was suffering the worst drought on record.

In response to outback cries for help, Muster organisers Gympie Apex Club decided to donate all funds the club raised from the Muster that year to the National Drought Appeal.

Since then, the Rural Aid Appeal has donated over $1.2 million to charities working specifically to help rural Australians, including Rural Youth Suicide, the Royal Flying Doctor Service and Transplant Australia, to name a few.

Fast forward to 2007 and Australia is again in the grip of drought. Recent rains have eased the burden, but there is still a long, long way to go. With this in mind, the Gympie APEX Club invited community groups throughout the nation who are working closely with drought-affected Australians to apply for a share of the profits from this year's Muster over $100,000 worth!

Muster Chairman Andrew Brooks said they've responded in droves and a panel of independent judges had a hard time choosing which projects would receive financial help this year.

"For those groups who were not successful this year, the Gympie Apex Club has generously agreed to supply each group with tickets to next year's Muster," Andrew said. "That's over $18,000 worth of tickets! Not bad for those who missed out."

The Muster's major sponsor, Toyota, has added to their support by providing a new Hilux SR 4litre V6 manual petrol pickup, including air conditioning and on road costs. This vehicle will be awarded to the submission which, in the judging panel's opinion, best satisfies their criteria of a worthwhile community group or project.

Each of the 11 successful groups has now been asked to invite a deserving family and send them to the Muster for a well-earned break as guests of the Muster and Toyota.

So keep your eye out at the Muster for those families with really big smiles on their faces as they take a few days out to forget about the grind of dealing with the drought.

"On behalf of all of these groups we thank you, our wonderful patrons, for supporting this event and giving us the means to help our fellow Aussies," Andrew said. "Muster patrons can be proud that a portion of each dollar they spend at the event or on merchandise goes directly to help our rural mates in the bush."

Give them a cheer when they take to Main Stage on Sunday August 26 to represent their community groups. That will be when Toyota will present a new Toyota Hilux to one of the successful community groups receiving our support.

Gympie Times

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