Caitlyn Shadbolt lifts spirits with hay run performance
AS THE Burrumbuttock Hay Runners made their record-breaking delivery to Ilfracombe over the weekend, Gympie's own country music star Caitlyn Shadbolt joined in to lift the spirits of farmers in need.
Shadbolt volunteered to perform for the hundreds of truck drivers, volunteers and farmers who gathered to celebrate in the central Queensland town on Saturday night .
"I put my hand up to be one of the artists to do a few songs and entertain them for the night," she said.
"I couldn't think of a better way to spend a free weekend."
Shadbolt stayed in town on Sunday, and met many of the families the hay run supported.
"They're the true blue Aussies, they're the guys with hearts of gold," she said.
"My parents grew up on farms, and I've got such a country background, so they're almost like family."
She said she was shocked to see how farmers were suffering in the drought-stricken community.
"You have to get out there to see how bad it is," she said.
"It breaks your heart.
"It's just dust, everywhere."
The Burrumbuttock Hay Runners have now delivered much-needed donations to eleven farming communities.
Last weekend's event attracted the largest number of trucks the New South Wales-based group has seen, with 258 semi-trailers loaded with almost 15,000 bales of hay.
Rainbow Beach Fishing Charters owner and Rainbow Beach Drought Aid coordinator Tony Stewart donated fishing tours for the event's raffle.
Mr Stewart said proceeds from the raffle will support a 14-year-old Ilfracombe girl with terminal cancer.
"Her father's a shearer, but he hasn't had any work for two years," Mr Stewart said.
"The sheep are just dying everywhere."
Mr Stewart has delivered about $25,000 worth of aid to farmers in need through Rainbow Beach Drought Aid.
Mr Stewart is searching for someone to help deliver a load of non-perishable produce to Longreach.
Anyone interested in helping can contact Mr Stewart on 0408 767 930.