(Supplied) ABC Newcastle
July 22, 2018 14:38:08
‘Jake from Sydney’ (left) travelled to deliver a ute-load of hay to struggling farmer David Wicks.
NSW Upper Hunter farmer David Wicks is struggling through the worst drought in living memory, but a stranger in the city that googled his name has given him hope.It has been a tough period for the Bunnan farmer, who was rushed into hospital days before Christmas last year for open heart surgery.He said the stress from dealing with the dry conditions lead him to a quadruple bypass.But one phone call from a stranger has given him the energy to continue. I’ve never ever seen it as bad as this,” he said. Photo:
Drought has hit hard for farmers in the NSW Upper Hunter region (ABC News: Jordan Hayne)
Mr Wicks was at home with his wife watching TV last week when he received a phone call from the stranger.The man who introduced himself as ‘Jake from Sydney’ had seen Mr Wicks’ story in the media earlier in the year and decided to reach out to help.”I told him what’s going on with the land and he asked me what I’m feeding my cows.””I said ‘why are you asking these questions Jake?'”He said ‘well Dave, I want to put a load of hay on my ute and bring it up to you and feed your cows for a day’.”Mr Wicks got very emotional at the offer.”For somebody to ring me up and ask me if he could come feed my cows for a day — that was the biggest thing to get me up off the ground,” he said.”He had just googled my name and got my phone number and just rung me up and offered this.”He said those in the country were used to looking out for each other, but he was not used to this kind of generosity from the city.”I’m still getting goosebumps today thinking there’s somebody out there who’s thinking of us.”Avalibility of feed dwindling Mr Wicks said Jake’s offer had come at a good time as feed for his cattle is getting harder to source.”We’re dragging it all the way out of Victoria and South Australia,” he said.”But to get the hay to here costs me twice as much as what the hay is worth.”He said it was making it even harder to sustain the farm.”I’m 56 years of age and have lived on this farm all my life. Photo:
David Wicks with his daughter Kelly and wife Von at their Bunnan property. (ABC News: Col Kerr)
Paying it forward For Mr Wicks and his family the ute-load of hay is only a drop in the ocean.But he said it was the gesture that meant more than anyone could know.”It’s not the quantity, it’s the thought,” he said.”It just gets my wife and my daughter and myself out there and wanting to do things the next day.”Mr Wicks was selling off some of his cattle over the weekend at the Maitland Saleyards.’Jake from Sydney’ drove down on Saturday morning to make the delivery of hay.Jake, who does not want to divulge his surname, said he did not give it much of a second thought.”It’s taking and giving in life, I think, and it was my turn to pay it forward — to give a little bit more to the community,” he said.
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