Wool growers encouraged to support RFDS

Gilgandra woolgrower Max Zell. Photo: Supplied.

Gilgandra woolgrower Max Zell. Photo: Supplied.

Wool growers across the central west are encouraged to donate pieces of scrap wool as part of a new pilot fundraising program with the Royal Flying Doctor South Eastern Section.

The RFDS SE ‘Wool for Wings’ program was the idea of Gilgandra woolgrower Max Zell, who originated the concept eight years ago.

“I got the idea after pressing up wool in the shearing shed. These are scraps that might otherwise be thrown out,” Mr Zell said.

“No sense in doing that when they could be used to support a vital healthcare service that gives us clinics and is our lifeline in an emergency.”

Mr Zell said it doesn’t take much and a little from everybody could make a big difference.

Fundraising is essential to help keep the Flying Doctor flying.

Prue Steel, FRDS SE Senior Coordinator Community Fundraising/Marketing

Nyngan woolgrower, James, was very happy to see the RFDS the day a branch speared him while mustering sheep on a quad bike in 2016.

After pulling out the sharp branch, which entered his shin and exited through the calf, he was driven to Nyngan airport. 

“It was only a few minutes wait until the plane arrived,” he said.

“The Flying Doctor was very good…. they were making me feel better by talking to me. It was impressive how quick the flight was.”

The wool industry has always been a great supporter of the RFDS with donations received from wool sales each year, but Prue Steel, Senior Coordinator Community Fundraising/ Marketing at the RFDS SE, believes it’s time to take it to the next level.

“We’ve done it on an ad hoc basis with Max and a single Dubbo broker, Coggan’s Wool, but we’d like to make it an ongoing, more formal arrangement,” Ms Steel said.

“Our idea is to do a twelve-month pilot program in Dubbo, where we have an established network, and then expand it to other areas.”

Ms Steel said they feel certain the goodwill exists in the wool industry to make this work.

“Four years ago we were the charity of the year at the National Merino Sheep Show and sale and are hopeful we’ll be chosen again this year,” Ms Steel said.

Wool for Wings asks wool growers to gather up their oddments, drop them into Coggan’s or their usual wool broker and send a donation form to the Flying Doctor. 

The broker will sell the donated wool and forward the proceeds to the RFDS SE, who will issue the woolgrower with a receipt and certificate for the donation, which is 100 per cent tax deductible.

“Fundraising is essential to help keep the Flying Doctor flying,” Ms Steel said.

“Government grants and contracts only cover a proportion of our costs and the balance is made up by donations.”

Woolgrowers wishing to register to join Wool for Wings can call the RFDS SE on 02 9941 8803