OCEANS OF FUN: Dean Marshall and Rainbow Beach Learn to Surf owner Sarah Booth gave lessons to the visitors.
OCEANS OF FUN: Dean Marshall and Rainbow Beach Learn to Surf owner Sarah Booth gave lessons to the visitors. Arthur Gorrie

Rainbow Beach joy for drought-hit kids

THE ocean was a new experience for some special visitors to Rainbow Beach yesterday.

"We've got a party of 27 children and eight teachers from way out in western Queensland,” organiser Tony Stewart said on the beach yesterday.

Mr Stewart has been the driving force behind the Drought Runners campaign to take groceries to drought- stricken farmers in outback Queensland, not so much to solve all their problems as to lend them the psychological support the gifts symbolise.

His other project, Bush to Beach, brings children from drought-hit children to the beach, something many of them had never had previously.

"Probably half of them have never seen the ocean before,” he said.

"We've got kids from schools at Windora, Stonehenge, Jundah and Isisford and they're having a great time,” he said.

"Yesterday they visited Australia Zoo and last night they stayed at Underwater World, in the tunnel.

"It's been fantastic for them.

"These kids have had such a hard time out in western Queensland.

"They're giving their parents a bit of respite I suppose and they've having a bit of respite themselves.

"They're so excited. When they saw the sand on Monday we had to hold them back before (lifeguard) Liam (Toohey) gave them a wonderful safety briefing.”

Gympie Times


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