By Casey Neill

Lilydale Rotarians and Gruyere farmers are helping drought-stricken farmers in Bairnsdale.

The Rotary Club of Lilydale received a $10,000 donation from the estate of a former Rotarian.

Member Lynn Whelan said that he was also a farmer, so the club thought it fitting that his generosity would support other farmers in need.

They sourced hay from Rob Bennett in Gruyere.

“We’re farmers ourselves,” Rob’s wife Liz told the Mail.

“We have a property that’s in drought and a property that’s not in drought.

“We had to help.”

She said it had been too cold and there hadn’t been enough rain.

“The grass is just not growing,” she said.

“We’ve bought water.”

On Friday 17 August, two trucks rolled onto they property and were loaded with 78 bales of hay, including six donated by a Seville East farmer.

Ms Whelan had reached out to truck manufacturer Kenworth and sourced free transport through Grinter Transport Services and Willaton Transport Group.

Two drivers volunteered to make the four-hour, 300 kilometre journey free of charge.

Rotary Club of Lilydale president Ron Haines said he spoke to the Department of Agriculture.

“And they indicated the farmers in Bairnsdale were in drought and struggling,” he said.

“We wanted to keep it in Victoria.”

The National Farmers’ Federation and the Rotary Club of Bairnsdale will distribute the donation at the end of its journey.

Mr Haines said this would also include $6000 in grain and fuel vouchers.

“It’s fantastic. We’re pretty excited about it,” he said.

“Every cent is going to farmers.”

The Rotary Club of Lilydale meets every second Tuesday at 6.30pm at L’auberge in Lilydale.

Call Mr Haines on 0412 252 344 to donate to the famers or get involved with the club.

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