Sand and sea brings smiles to Bush to Beach Kids

These Isisford students appreciated the wonderful meals and especially having fresh bread - not a common occurrence in their town!

These Isisford students appreciated the wonderful meals and especially having fresh bread – not a common occurrence in their town!

At the Sponsors Night, our little visitors were asked ‘Who hasn’t seen proper rain yet?’ A sea of arms rose up – and it really put things into perspective for me. Here’s Brooke’s first story for the Community News as we hear what they were up to!

Brooke Bignell

Salty hair, sun-kissed skin and laughter amid the waves. These are the childhood memories held by most Aussie kids of their holidays by the sea. Some families aren’t so fortunate. Like those from Jundah, 1300km west of Rainbow Beach.

In the grip of a six-year drought, children from central Queensland and New South Wales can only dream of memories so sandy. Thanks to Bush to Beach founder, Tony Stewart, and his band of helpers, these kids’ dreams have been turned to reality.

Arriving in Rainbow Beach are 25 children, from Windorah, Jundah, Stonehenge and Isisford state schools. Swapping red dust for coloured sands, the excitement on their faces as they race towards the ocean is priceless. “Most of these kids have never seen the ocean, you know,” says Tony.

Staying at Cathy House in Tin Can Bay, their itinerary was full! From a hike to our stunning Carlo Sand Blow, to picking strawberries and eating pancakes at Cooloola Berries, the children are on a trip of a lifetime.

While in our stunning region they had the opportunity to learn to surf, feed dolphins, visit Underwater World and Australia Zoo, and take a trip on the barge to K’gari (Fraser Island).

The fundraising and tireless quest for donations to make this trip happen is all worth it for Tony, to see the absolute joy on their faces.

We may be a small community, but we are mighty!

And a thank you from Tony Stewart (Co-Ordinator)  Kids Bush to the Beach:

As mentioned I have a load of people to thank for their help during the visit by Western Qld school children last week. The 27 children and their 8 Teachers had a wonderful experience and it was great promotion for our area.

Firstly I must thank Jeff Barton Buslines for providing us with transport once again ably driven by Jeff himself, with some help by Alex from Hervey Bay and a short stint by Peter at Rainbow Beach Transport.

A fuel donation by Bernard Petroleum was a great help. Gifts for the children were provided by Gympie CWA, Glenda Bignell, the Tin Can Bay Camera Club, Rainbow Beach Pharmacy, Sam and Maureen Mitchell and Rainbow Beach Boomerang Bags.  Thank you Gympie Council for your financial help.

Activities were provided by Sarah Booth Learn to Surf, Paul from Mantaray Barge, Coastguard Tin Can Bay, Rainbow Beach Surf Club with Liam Toohey, Ron Organ and  staff, Les and Jenny at Barnacles Cafe and Dolphin feeding.

Cooloola Berries, The Snack Shack, Creme De La Creme, The Reibel Family, Rainbow Beach Meats, Ed’s Beach Bakery, Arthur at Tin Can Bay Bakery, Sea Salt Cafe and Simon Duggan kept everyone well fed and provided some wonderful donations..

Our Chef for the windup meal, Sean Seul of Rainbow Beach Seafood, excelled once again with his presentation.

We had other wonderful helpers during the week in Marlene Owen , Robyn Protheroe, Jason Taft & Rosie Stewart, the bed makers & contributors during the week. Betty Freeman our raffle lady & Pat Green from TCBay Lions.

Thank you to the Gympie Times, Rainbow Beach Community News and the Bay Bulletin for your event coverage.

This year’s Bush to Beach children travelled up to 1500 kms with most seeing the ocean for the 1st time and they could not believe they saw a paddock full of green grass. Wonderful memories shared by all.

On behalf of the Events Committee, Nigel & Fiona Worthington, Kristy Pamenter, Kirsty Jordison, Barb Rees and Suzie Falkner.

Michelle Gilmore and Brooke Bignell, thank you once again.