HELPING KIDS DRIVE BETTER: Burnett State College deputy principal Russell Kemp, Grand Hotel Gayndah's Alyson McElligott and Gayndah Fire Station captain Ron Mitchell. Photo: Alex Treacy
HELPING KIDS DRIVE BETTER: Burnett State College deputy principal Russell Kemp, Grand Hotel Gayndah's Alyson McElligott and Gayndah Fire Station captain Ron Mitchell. Photo: Alex Treacy

Pub donation to make youths better drivers

AN initiative to help teach North Burnett students defensive driving techniques to avoid them becoming a road statistic has been given a boost with a $1000 donation from a local pub.

Gayndah Fire Station captain Ron Mitchell has been fundraising during 2019 to send next year’s Year 11 cohort at Burnett State College to Gympie for a two-day course run by Roadcraft.

Capt Mitchell said his eldest daughter had taken a similar course and told him that what she learnt there had helped her in threatening situations she had come across on the road.

“And she clocks up a lot of miles in the air force,” he said.

Capt Mitchell has previously told the Times that his championing this initiative had been influenced by being first on the scene at too many unnecessary road deaths.

“Each year, road crashes cause unnecessary trauma to too many Queensland families,” he said.

“Too many young people will suffer serious injury or death soon after leaving school or obtaining their driver’s licence.

“I believe that we can avoid this trauma by educating students at an early stage in their driving experience.”

It will cost $15,360 to send all 48 students to Gympie, which includes the course, food, accommodation and travel.

Capt Mitchell has been co-ordinating container collections through the station and has also received other miscellaneous donations from members of the community.

However, fundraising efforts really took off today as the Grand Hotel Gayndah handed over a cheque for $1000, raised via its Saturday night raffles.

Alyson McElligott said each Saturday night, a patron volunteered to sell raffle tickets for a carton of beer, with profits going into a kitty that was disbursed to a rotating roster of community groups.

She emphasised it was not the Grand which had donated this money, but their patrons who generously dug into their pockets.

Burnett State College deputy principal Russell Kemp said the Roadcraft course would augment work the school already did in educating its students on road safety.

He said in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Maryborough, Year 10 students already took an annual RYDA course, a series of interactive workshops run by Road Safety Education.

However, by getting students behind the wheel at a defensive driving class, lessons learnt at the RYDA course were reinforced.

If you are able to help with fundraising, please phone Capt Mitchell on 0488 759 577 or Mr Kemp on 4161 3888.


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