When organisers of Talbot’s Farmers Market offered to donate money raised from their regular raffle to Leroy Mac Designs, whose farm was devastated by the Lexton bushfire, the woolgrowers and knitwear makers knew exactly what to do. They kept the goodwill moving and redirected the funds to volunteer disaster recovery group BlazeAid to continue work in the region. Photos: EDWINA WILLIAMS

Farmers market funds paid forward

March 26, 2020 BY

STALLHOLDERS at Talbot Farmers Market recently contributed to one of the event’s most successful community raffles ever, and the giving didn’t stop there.

Combined with donations from individuals, and groups like Polp Fiction OJ, the community raised $965.

At first the money was offered to Leroy Mac Designs after the field to customer woolgrower and knitwear maker lost 95 per cent of their main farm, 27 kilometres of fencing, sheep yards and 300 sheep in January’s Lexton fire.

However, owners Rebecca and Rodney McErvale chose to forgo the donation, redirecting it towards the BlazeAid volunteers who had been working across the region, including at their farm, building new fences.

Tiers of teamwork: Talbot Farmers Market vice-president Ed Bradley met Janis Hobbs and Rodney McErvale to hand over money raised last week.

Lee Holland, coordinator of the Talbot Farmers Market said seeing the money go towards BlazeAid was a no-brainer.

“Our stallholders were involved in the fires, and BlazeAid do such a great job for the farmers of the area,” she said.

“We have sent donations to BlazeAid before, but it went to Sydney, so we wanted it to remain here, in this area, for our community, our farmers and stallholders.”

BlazeAid’s Lexton camp coordinator, Janis Hobbs said “generous” community cooperation like this keeps her volunteers fed, and materials available to rebuild fences.

“It’s fabulous that Talbot Farmers Market can see we’re doing some good here, because we can feed monies back into the community we’re working in, and it goes round,” she said.

“BlazeAid runs on volunteers and donations. Many hands make light work, every little bit counts and without this goodwill and people wanting to care for each other, we wouldn’t be able to achieve what we can, making a significant difference in farmers’ lives.”

Leroy Mac Designs’ Rodney McErvale is grateful to those financially backing the BlazeAid Lexton camp. Its volunteers have been putting up new fences on his property, to replace those damaged.

“We’ve been doing the Talbot Farmers Market for three and a half years,” he said.

“It’s good to see the money the market raises every month is going to a cause close to my heart. BlazeAid’s not only done a lot of work on our farm, but my dad’s too.

“One person can only do so much, so having six to ten people from BlazeAid makes a difference. Especially in that early stage of pulling down, you could see something going forward.”

Mr McErvale knows what he’ll do to keep busy when his time to retire rolls around.

“I’m going to join BlazeAid.”