Hay, food drought help result of Manilla man's campaign

Adam Memorey with some of the hay - he spearheaded a fundraising campaign to raise money for it, then travelled to Queensland to buy it.
Adam Memorey with some of the hay - he spearheaded a fundraising campaign to raise money for it, then travelled to Queensland to buy it.

A MANILLA man who “couldn’t just sit back” has driven a drought fundraising campaign that’s hit $10,000-plus in three weeks of “non-stop” action.

Adam Memorey said it had been “an eye-opener” seeing what local farmers were going through, so he rallied his local and virtual communities together.

They’ve raised the money through several online auctions, a barbecue and garage sale – and Mr Memorey put it straight to good use.

He travelled to Queensland for a hay-buying trip he hoped would be just the first, and has given out most of it to grateful locals, along with some food hampers.

One of them, Sandra Warner, said the gift meant she’d be able to keep up with the next few months’ mortgage repayments.

“I just don’t have the money to buy hay to feed the few remaining stock I have left,” she said.

“I sold a heap of cows a few weeks back that should have gotten me through, but they only made a quarter of what they were worth … I was more than grateful for their help.”

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Mr Memorey said he’d been carting firewood in the Manilla area and said it was “nothing but dirt”.

“We’ve seen dead stock, not to mention the empty dams … I went to a property yesterday with 12 dams and there was not one dam with water.

“People are having to cart water every day just to keep the stock alive.”

He started a Facebook group called Giving back to a couple of local farmers, where fishing mates from across Australia started posting their lures for auction.

Other items have since joined them, including jewellery and original art.

“The support there, I’m telling you – if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be where I am now … the fishing lures alone have raised well over $5000,” he said.

Sale sizzles

Next in the drive was a big combined garage sale in Manilla, for which people across the district donated items.

There was also a barbecue with food donated by Robert St IGA, Kays Butchers and all three Coles outlets in Tamworth, as well as Manilla Butchery and IGA Manilla.

That alone raised $500: “There were line-ups for the egg and bacon rolls – it was crazy,” Mr Memorey said.

“There were cheques written out; buying the person behind you a feed; ‘Here’s $20’.”

Last week, Betts Transport of Walcha donated the hiring and diesel for a B-double for Mr Memorey to travel with their driver to Warwick to check out some hay.

“It was very good quality hay, so we bought it then and there … 60 round bales, plus eight bales were donated by the seller,” Mr Memorey said.

Adam Memorey with the hay vendor, Chris O'Shea, who donated eight of the large round bales.

Adam Memorey with the hay vendor, Chris O'Shea, who donated eight of the large round bales.

He said he was grateful to not have to factor in the freight costs, which was proving to be such a blow to farmers having to bring in feed from as far away as South Australia.

“Instead of having to fork out $8000, we only had to pay $5000; now that $3000 can be used to buy more hay,” he said.

Owner Peter Betts said he’d wanted to do his “little bit to help”.

“We’re just trying to just help the farmers, that’s all. We know what it’s like; it’s very, very dry in Walcha.”

‘It brought a tear to my eye’

Mr Memorey said the hay was going to “people who we know are struggling” – although they were sometimes found in a roundabout way.

“[One man] nominated people yesterday for me to donate hay to … we donated hay to a lady, and I spoke to her about people in the area who are struggling and you know who she named first? That man.

Delivering hay to some graziers and animals in need.

Delivering hay to some graziers and animals in need.

“I tell ya, it brought a tear to my eye.”

Mr Memorey said the support and donations had come from across Australia and there were “so many people to thank … One person donated almost $700 worth of groceries”.

“I couldn’t just sit back and watch it happen, watch some of these people’s livelihoods fade away in front of them, unless people stand up and have a go,” he said of the campaign.

“This will tide them over – whether it’s for a week or two, it’s something and something is better than nothing.”

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