A GROUP of Gold Coasters were in tears watching the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners arrive in Cunnamulla yesterday after raising more than $20,000 and helping raise awareness of the battles of life on the land often not realised in the south east.
Rick and Lyndy Fankhauser along with Greg Sklavos and Tracey McMurtrie made the 10 hour trip to the south west on Monday, visiting the small towns along the way and getting to know locals.
Their fundraising efforts began in May when Greg saw a news story on the Hay Runners and told guests at his 60th birthday to provide them with donations in lieu of gifts.
Together with Rick, the pair then organised raffle boards and dropped them off at local clubs and pubs, selling a square on the board or ‘bale of hay’ for $40.
Three months later they collected all of the boards and raised $20,419 for the cause.
The group would have usually been spending Australia Day by the pool but instead they dressed in Australia flags and hats and cheered on the convoy as they arrived.
There was nowhere else they would have rather been.
“All our mates thought we were mad,” Lyndy Fankhauser said.
Their campaign, described as the beach helping the bush, was more than just about buying hay but raising awareness in the city, Mr Sklavos said.
“It was not so much about the hay, but the suicide rates too,” he said.
The group will leave Cunnamulla on Sunday.