News

Mowing down predators

Claude Harvey is pushing his lawnmower from the Gold Coast to Mt Isa to raise money for Bravehearts and help save children from abuse.
Claude Harvey is pushing his lawnmower from the Gold Coast to Mt Isa to raise money for Bravehearts and help save children from abuse. Renee Pilcher

MOWING down child abuse one place at a time is Claude Harvey's business.

Well, he makes it his business, like it or not, and sometimes he even faces staunch opposition when he pushes his lawnmower into town.

For 14 years, he's been walking to raise money for Bravehearts, a national organisation that strives to protect Australian children from sexual abuse.

He's well known at the Gold Coast, where he is based at Varsity Lakes, for walking 120km every year along the Queensland and northern New South Wales coast to raise money.

To date he has raised in excess of $400,000 for the organisation and the kids of Australia.

Taking his charity venture up another notch, Mr Harvey is now walking the east coast of Australia, stopping at every town between his home and Mt Isa. And just for kicks, he's pushing a lawnmower all the way. The mower engine won't turn over, but it still gets plenty of attention.

Mr Harvey embarked on his latest journey at the beginning of April and three months later arrived in Gympie. While he stayed for a couple of nights, promoting his cause at shopping centres to an accepting and generous public, he told The Gympie Times he didn't always get such a good reception.

He said in 2010 he walked a different way, somewhere in Queensland that he refused to name and shame, when he was warned by folk that if he continued along to the next town he would be shot.

"I have been mentally and physically attacked on these journeys. At one place around 20 to 30 people told me and my partner that if I went through the next town there was plans to shoot me," he said.

"While I avoided it at the time, I later learned 10 (people listed on the sexual offender registry) live in the town so I've got every intention to make a special trip to push my mower through there now."

Mr Harvey's current 77-day, 2260km adventure will generate exposure and funds for Bravehearts as it endeavours to make Australia the safest place in the world for children, with every cent raised going towards prevention, education and counselling programs.

Gympie Times

Topics:  bravehearts, child abuse, claude harvey



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