Recognised for helping farmers in need

Recognised for helping farmers in need


A Gippsland boy has been recognised for helping farmers in drought.


A Lions club has recognised a Gippsland boy for his effort in helping the region's farmers in drought.

Alex Nicholls, 11, was inducted as an honorary member of the Heyfield Lions Club earlier this month after he raised $7500 during the Gippsland Drought Fun Run in October.

The Stratford primary student, who lives on his family's farm at Munro, organised the five-kilometre event around Lake Guthridge at Sale last month.

More than 230 people participated in the event which aimed to raised money for drought-stricken Gippsland farmers.

Heyfield Lions Club drought support coordinator Ray Akers said it was well deserved recognition.

"You've got to reward young blokes who have a bit of go in them because most people at his age don't have that social skill or the understanding of what it means to help people," Mr Akers said.

"Unfortunately it's something that's pretty rare in a kid these days where they see a problem and want to do something about it."

Speaking to Stock & Land, Alex said he was humbled to receive the membership.

"I was actually very shocked at the time ... because just afterwards my mum said to me they wouldn't hand those out very often so it made it a very special moment," he said.

"The teacher when I walked into the class was really astonished that I got the award and they said 'great job Alex, you're a legend'."

His parents run a Merino sheep operation and Alex said he had dreams of one day following in their footsteps.

"I help dad feed the sheep, I have to go and collect eggs from the chooks every afternoon, feed the chooks every morning and feed the lambs ... I really like farming," he said.

He came up with the idea to hold the fun run after preparing a speech for a school assessment.

"I'd been to a lot of fun runs and the Heyfield Lions Club had done a fair bit in our community, I wanted to be able to give back to them," he said.

The Heyfield Lions Club has supported hundreds of farmers since launching its drought assistance program two years ago, providing much-needed fodder for farmers doing it tough.

"At the moment you would think we're in the middle of February, it's hot and dry and we've got no water and in some places, farmers are doing it worse this year than last," Mr Akers said.

"Donated money is hard to come by, whether it be for sick kids or the homeless or people in drought, everyone has their hand up so a little bit in our case goes a long way.

"Normally this kind of money would be one load of hay being delivered in the area, but we can put it into five or six loads because we're buying it at cost price and also we've got a good fleet of truckies who just charge us fuel costs."


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