George Larfield with some of the solar panels he will take to Vanuatu for villagers to use in meeting places.
George Larfield with some of the solar panels he will take to Vanuatu for villagers to use in meeting places. Craig Warhurst

Sailors to help poor in Vanuatu

JUST as round-the-world sailor Jessica Watson was heading into Sydney Harbour to end her epic voyage, Gympie man George Larfield was getting ready to set sail on a voyage of his own.

George’s trip might not be as long as Jessica’s and he won’t be by himself, but what his voyage will do is help hundreds of poor people on the islands in and around Vanuatu.

George is setting sail on the 63- foot ketch Alliance with friends Dale Warne, Russel Cousins and Bob Murray this weekend.

He has filled the vessel full of goodies, including food, clothing, school supplies, prescription glasses, rope, used sails, guitar strings, solar panels and dynamo torches.

All will be given away to the island people to make their lives easier and help stop environmental pollution.

George and his mates first went to Vanuatu in 2007.

Then, they took first aid and school supplies, worked repairing dugout canoes, generators and water tanks.

George said they found the people to be very happy, but lacking in many basic, needy items.

He said the islands were littered with old torch batteries because of a lack of power, and that prompted them to take solar panels, LED lights and dynamo torches to help the islanders end their reliance on disposable power.

After George talked to friend Bob Murray, who has a business in China, Bob decided to help out by importing many items cheaply from the country.

This enabled the team to maximise their efforts by giving donated funds more buying power.

“We intend to set up solar panels with batteries and LED lights in the main meeting areas in the villages,” George said.

“Then we will distribute dynamo torches and wind-up lanterns to eliminate used battery littering in other areas,” he said.

George said the people of Gympie had been wonderfully generous and thanked Gympie Apex, Gympie Cooloola Rotary, Bob Murray, findacrew.com, Gympie Musicland, Glen Horgan Optometrist , Tin Can Bay Carriers, Sprotts Stainless Steel, Tin Can Bay Fisherman’s Association, Cooloola Electronics and to all the people who had donated many other things.

“The community has donated thousands of dollars worth of gear.

“It is great to be able to help people who have nothing,” he said.

Gympie Times


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