Anne Clarke, Graeme Herne

The Casino drought fundraiser that’s making a difference

We caught up with Ann Clarke, one of the organisers of the Over the Range Drought Fundraiser, being held at the Casino Golf Club on Sunday 16th September, to discuss why she started fundraising and how you can make a difference to the farmers in the region.

When Ann and her husband were travelling through Peak Hill, New South Wales in January this year, little did she know what she would come across when she stopped for fuel. All that she could see across the horizon was dry crusty yellow grass and an environment that hadn’t seen moisture for some time.

When they got out of the car they came across an old couple in their 70s, the husband was working as a mechanic and the wife was busy on the cash register. As Ann went to pay for the fuel, she said to the wife behind the register, “It’s so dry out here!”

The wife on the cash register replied that it is awful when it is so dry. She added that when the farmers don’t work because of the drought, she and her husband don’t eat. Ann says the wife then started to cry.
After witnessing this poor lady at breaking point, Ann asked if they could help by paying for the fuel with cash. The lady was overjoyed, “oh my god, this means we can eat tonight.”

Following that visit to Peak Hill and the reports on the news over the last few months, Ann felt she had to do something to help the farmers and communities in the region that are affected by the most severe drought in the region for almost 20 years.

“What we want to do is bring all the towns together and raise funds. We have people in Kyogle, Casino and Lismore donating, so it is about coming together for this fundraiser on 16th September.”

“We hope to raise $100,000; which we know is a big goal, but we want to give this money to the farmers so that can get some pride back and go out and spend the money locally.”

In terms of how people can help, Ann says people can either donate money or even their time by helping out on the day.

To volunteer at the Over the Range Drought Fundraiser on Sunday 16th September, at the Casino Golf Club, please call Ann Clarke on 0400 450 205. If you’d like to make a difference and donate to the appeal, you can do so by visiting any Summerland branch or by transferring funds to the following Summerland account:

Account name: Over the Range Drought Fundraiser
BSB: 728-728
Account: 22321292