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‘Pop-up’ convoy in Tasmania a huge success

When Rick Sutcliffe and Daniel ‘Sleeves’ White met in early November to discuss the idea of a fundraising convoy, they were not sure about the viability, or possibility of a successful outcome.

But they simply rolled up their sleeves and “got on with it”.

It had recently come to their attention that with the recent pandemic, fundraising had come to a virtual halt, and children in hospital were in need of resources.

They then ran the idea by Emma Bygrave from the ‘South East Sun’s’ women’s football club, who had been instrumental, with Rick, in getting the very successful annual truck show at Sorrell up and running, and she immediately jumped on board to lend her considerable assistance and expertise.

In the November 29 event, on a cool, pleasant Sunday morning, a gratifying 47 trucks arrived at the Industrial Hub in Brighton at 10am, with Rick Sutcliffe in no. 1 spot and the top 10 trucks leading the way to the city along the Brooker Highway, passing the paediatrics ward at the Royal Hobart Hospital, where the children joyously heard them passing, returning via the Tasman Bridge, Lindisfarne and Old Beach, to an assigned paddock at the Transport Hub.

Occasional trucks joined the convoy en-route whilst others left to go about their work prior to the final assembly at Brighton, where the Rotary Club provided a barbecue for the returning drivers and their families, all with due regard to social distancing, and an amazing amount of money has been raised, $14,688, in fact.

convoy

So by any account this ‘Pop-up convoy’ has to be hailed as a huge success, the more remarkable owing to the total lack of any local media coverage other than a mention on Facebook, and in Big Rigs.

Rick has asked us to thank the following people who all put in to make this happen: “Firstly thanks to Daniel White who had the idea, and has a ‘never give up’ attitude, then Emma Bygrave for all her efforts and hard work, to Craig Williams who sussed out the paddock and slashed it prior to our arrival, and to Paul Sutcliffe for letting us use his land. To Jacqui Juvakka for all the printing of shirts and the banner, and then had to change them all at the last moment, and liaising with the children’s reactions in the ward as we went past.

To the Rotary Club for arranging the barbecue at the site, to Quinton Turner for making the excellent videos, and to Linda and Chris Poulton for their support on their excellent T.I.T. web page, and to Amanda and the other pages that did likewise, and finally to Lee and Bridget Bygrave for their loyalty and assistance.

But mostly to all the truck drivers, Owners, and people who donated, and all those folks who turned out along the roads to wave and cheer us on, it was a great feeling for us all!”

There were awards made as follows:

  • Lead Convoy Truck 2020 to T.P. Bennett & Sons Mack, driven by Rick Sutcliffe.
  • The Shaun Gangell Memorial Award to David Oakley from William Oakley Longhaul Solutions.
  • Aiden Barker Memorial Award” to Daniel White and Tas Road Express.

We would like to conclude by saying what a great day it was for all concerned, and how it affirms our faith in those hard-working southern Tasmanian drivers, and those folks who polished and buffed and detailed their trucks (including Rick’s daughters), and got out there at such short notice to make the day a success in every way.

For so many 2020 has been a depressing, even a grim year. Well for us a bunch of cheerful Tasmanian truck drivers, giving freely of their time, fuel and resources, bouncing out on that Sunday morning to bring some much-needed resources to children in Hobart’s paediatric ward, as well as the joy of hearing the passing trucks doing it for them, has been just amazing.

Certainly, it has lifted our hearts, and hopefully presages a much brighter and happier year ahead.

  • For more convoy photos, make sure you grab the first issue of Big Rigs for 2021, out at all the usual outlets from January 8. You can also view the edition online at bigrigs.com.au.
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