WATER FOR XMAS: Rugby ‘family’ ensures no child goes without
CHRISTMAS has come early for Southern Downs children after generous donations of toys, food and water arrived at the Warwick Water Rats clubhouse today.
It was a matter of family helping family, according to former Scots PGC student and Queensland Reds player Emily Bass.
“Rugby is a family,” Miss Bass said.
“Wherever you go across Australia, or the world, it always feels like a family, and we wanted to bring that here.”
The clubhouse was flooded with gifts from metropolitan rugby clubs, the Queensland Reds and the Helensvale Rugby Club.
“We hope this little initiative will go a long way to helping the Southern Downs through a tough Christmas,”
The “little initiative” could not have been done without the passion of a new Warwick resident, Water Rats secretary Tessa Enchelmaier.
In the months since Miss Enchelmaier began visiting Warwick, she was moved by its charming people, its barren pastures and most importantly, its plight.
“Warwick was getting overlooked,” she said.
“After the bushfires all of the water donations just started heading straight past us into Stanthorpe, but things are bad here too.
“I’ve seen grazing paddocks that are borderline empty, farmers selling their wool sheep for mutton and my partner’s parents’ farm has turned to dust.
“People are struggling big time.”
The situation was becoming so dire Miss Enchelmaier was moved to contact the Queensland Reds Rugby team after she saw their Reds to Regions initiative.
“I got into contact with them and sent them through a bunch of photos of Leslie Dam, hoping they’d see how empty it was and realise why we needed help,” she said.
“I wanted to city people to know how bad it really was.
“And then these guys just came out of the goodness of their hearts!
“This is what rugby is known for: Clubs looking after other clubs.
“It’s enough to make you want to cry.”
The mission to cart water from southeast Queensland to Warwick almost didn’t make it because of the blisteringly high temperatures.
The engine of one of the vehicles overheated on the drive up, causing the delivery to be delayed.
But now the donations have arrived it’s time to figure out where they’ll go. The club is open to suggestions, and is considering schools around the Wheatvale and Pratten areas.