VOLUNTEERING FUN: The Big Lift students from Sydney with Blackbutt locals, including Jeff Connor from the Blackbutt Medical Centre.
VOLUNTEERING FUN: The Big Lift students from Sydney with Blackbutt locals, including Jeff Connor from the Blackbutt Medical Centre. Daniel Snell

Big Lift 'put in the hard yakka' around Blackbutt

BLACKBUTT locals were blown away by the generosity and hard work from the Big Lift campaign when Sydney University students dropped by to volunteer their time.

The volunteer initiative aimed to help with community engagement and was founded on the philosophy of paying it forward.

The Big Lift team were in Blackbutt for a day where they volunteered at the Blackbutt tennis courts, aged care facilities, showgrounds, and RSL.

Jeff Connor from the Blackbutt Medical Centre was one of the main points of contact for the Sydney crew, and said he was extremely thankful for their initiative.

"Sadly, at about 2pm (Thursday, July 11), we waved good-bye to the most excellent members of the Big Lift,” Mr Connor said.

"Thanks to all who made their journey to stay in our community for such a mutually beneficial event.

"Tears were shed, hands were shook, hugs abounded and thankyou filled the air.”

PAINTING AWAY: Big Lift volunteers Isabelle White and Amy Vo hard at work at the Blackbutt Show Grounds.
PAINTING AWAY: Big Lift volunteers Isabelle White and Amy Vo hard at work at the Blackbutt Show Grounds. Madeline Grace

Les Lane, the vice president of the Blackbutt Avocado Festival, spent the morning at the Blackbutt Showgrounds with some of the volunteers and said he loved being able to share their small, tight-knit community with the students.

"It's been great having them in the community to help us out,” he said.

"They've been doing work and getting to things we just don't have the time for.

"It's good to have young people come to our community out of the goodness of their hearts to volunteer in Blackbutt.”

Big Lift for the Blackbutt Show-grounds: Big Lift volunteers Jonathon Maven and Heeji Seo busy painting the fencing of the show-grounds main arena.
Big Lift for the Blackbutt Show-grounds: Big Lift volunteers Jonathon Maven and Heeji Seo busy painting the fencing of the show-grounds main arena. Madeline Grace

Auriel Finch, an active member of the Blackbutt Tennis Committee, said she was impressed and grateful for the Sydney students.

"We had them at our tennis courts cleaning mold and dirt off with some bleach,” she said.

"They put in the hard yakka with their broom work.

"We haven't done this in a long time because it's such a huge job.”

CLEANING COURTS: Annie Ell, Jessica Maie, Gavin Wong, Laurence Cai, Alice Perkes, and Justin Cai cleaning up the Blackbutt Tennis Courts.
CLEANING COURTS: Annie Ell, Jessica Maie, Gavin Wong, Laurence Cai, Alice Perkes, and Justin Cai cleaning up the Blackbutt Tennis Courts. Madeline Grace

Ms Finch said it had been getting to the point where the Blackbutt Tennis Committee wouldn't have been able to play on the courts for much longer.

"I'm really happy with them and how they've worked with us,” she said.

"They had a great attitude about it and are all good hard workers.

"It was starting to become too slippery and a bit dangerous for us to play. So it's really exciting to have a freshly cleaned court for our community to use.”