Angel Jane springs to action
JANE English is the manager for Hawkins Transport at remote Weipa on Cape York and is a genuine Good Samaritan who started a collection to assist farmers in drought stricken and communities affected by floods.
It was her rural upbringing at Malanda on the Atherton Tablelands which sprung Jane into action after seeing the plight of farmers on social media.
Since doing so, Jane has received widespread support from the Weipa community.
"I watched the horror unfold in New South Wales and Queensland and it cut me deeply to think of those poor buggers losing so many animals,” she said.
"Animals they loved, had bought up from calves, got through years of drought, only to perish when the rains finally came.
"It would be bloody soul destroying. So, my thought was 'how can I help, what can I do?'
"And then I thought, the people here in Weipa are always leaving town, moving house, cleaning out the shed, or selling unused items, so I put up a post on Secrets of Weipa, asking people to donate their items instead of just dumping them.”
Jane said the response was overwhelming.
"I received a message the following day from Sandy Aldcroft of Western Cape Real Estate, offering the use of her office in the Woolworths complex as a drop-off point for donations,” she said.
"This was a godsend, as I had surgery three weeks earlier and had a few implications, and Sandy's kind offer meant I didn't have to be at the Hawkins depot each and every day, because it has been bloody hot.
"Sandy, Helen and Shayna from the business have gone above and beyond, boxing up all the donations, sorting them as they go, and ringing me when ready to collect the next load.
"One lady bought me to tears, I do not know who she is, but Sandy told me she had gone to Woolies, bought a full trolley of groceries, plus big bags of dog food and bought them in to donate.
"Such a beautiful gesture, and since then, there have been another two trolleys full of groceries been donated by other people.
"We have had just about everything donated, everything but the kitchen sink, but I might just throw one on top of everything before I send the container out, just for a laugh.”
To give the donations a personal touch, Jane asked anyone who supplied them to please include a note to the recipient, just a few words to let them know they are not forgotten.
"I know first-hand, when you hit the lowest of lows, it's not the material things that matter, sometimes, it's the little things, some kind words, a bit of encouragement, knowing you are not alone, that things will get better.
"That's what gets you through the day and puts your feet on the ground the next day.
"When I told a real good mate of mine what I was organising, off his own bat, he contacted Fred from Sea Swift, and was able to secure transport of the donation container free of charge from Weipa to Cairns as the roads up here are closed.
"He is a good bloke, and deserves a big thumbs up, good onya mate, The Peninsula Development Road is still closed due to the wet season, and it would have been a month before I could have got the container out.
"I rang Bradley Hawkins from Hawkins Cairns depot, hoping he would be able to transport the container from Cairns to Normanton when the road opens.
"Not a moment's hesitation, you didn't even need to ask Jane, 'you bet we will get the container over here'.
"I haven't had the pleasure of meeting Bradley yet, but obviously a man with great taste, I sort of fell into this position by accident.
"My husband had his business in the back corner of the yard that Hawkins run out off, and I got speaking with a previous truck driver, Wakey, and asked him if he needed a hand.
"I think he got a little bit of a surprise, because I am half handy on a forklift, and having lived in Weipa for 23 years, I have had a few jobs, I was relief depot manager for Gulf Freight, Endeavour Shipping depot manager, and relief manager at Bowyers Transport for a short time, plus I make a bloody good coffee and can spin bullshit with the best of them, so Wakey reckoned I was a keeper.
"Now, when the container gets to Normanton, it will be forwarded on to Drought Angels, who will in turn will distribute it to those desperately in need.
"I hadn't actually thought when I first started collecting items, who it would be going to, so was pretty happy when I made the offer to them, and they came back with a big 'yes please'. It could have been a bit interesting if they had have said no.
"I wanted to help out some more, so I asked my friend and local artist, Una Miller if she would be so kind as to donate one of her paintings, for me to raffle off.
"Una is so kind, she donated six of her paintings, God bless her.
"Another friend and local Deanne Martin contacted me offering one of her hand made wreaths to raffle.
"My mum Trish English sent me up a beautiful patchwork quilt she had made, also to raffle off, and lastly, I do some weird and wonderful arty things, which people seem to like, so they are getting raffled off also.
"All proceeds of these raffles will be divided equally between Blaze Aid, Sisters of the North and Drought Angels.
"Sarah from Carpentaria Golf Club has kindly allowed me to sell raffle tickets each Wednesday night for the next few weeks.
"Just under $400 was raised on the first raffle, nothing this week, because the doctor put me back in bloody hospital, but I will double up next week, and hopefully by the end, have a decent amount to donate.”
Jane grew up in Malanda, on a dairy farm with her dad, mum and six other brothers and sisters.
"My great-grandfather, James English settled Malanda, bringing the first milking herd to the Atherton Tablelands in 1908,” she said.
"He exhibited cattle at the first Malanda Show in 1916, and our family have exhibited cattle at every Malanda show since, that's 102 years of continuously exhibiting our Eachamvale Illawarras stud, we have been very successful, winning many top prizes during this time.
"We also exhibit at Atherton and Cairns. My brother Greg, his wife Bronwyn, and their seven kids have run the farm since 2001.
"Dad passed away on April 11, 2017, following a massive stroke in 2008 that left him bedridden, but prior to that, dad and mum were very active in the community, always willing to help others, and I guess that trait was inherited by all the kids, so that is why I wanted to do something to help the people in the NSW and Queensland.
"Dad often worked on stations during tough times on the farm, to bring in extra income.
"We were talking about the Malanda Pub the other day, my great-grandfather built this in 1911, it is the largest wooden structure in the southern hemisphere.”
FOOTNOTE: When Cyclone Trevor threatened Cape York after this Jane had to secure everything and looked like being on the other end of a bad weather event. Luckily the cyclone bypassed Weipa.