Lochiel farmer gifted a break by local caravan park

Farmers are doing it tough right across the Bega Valley, and beyond.

However, one Bega Valley dairy farmer has been given a wonderful reprieve thanks to some empathetic family members, friends and a generous local caravan park.

HARD-WORKING DAD: Lochiel dairy farmer Stuart Whitby with his three children, Billi, Rosie and Izzy. Photos: Supplied

HARD-WORKING DAD: Lochiel dairy farmer Stuart Whitby with his three children, Billi, Rosie and Izzy. Photos: Supplied

Stuart Whitby of Lochiel, along with partner Sammy and children Billi, 11, Rosie, 5 and Izzy, six months, have been granted a reprieve from the challenges of the farm with Pambula Beach Discovery Caravan Park gifting them a three-night stay.

The surprise gift came as a lovely shock to Stuart (particularly given it was left to this reporter to make the call to let him know!).

Stuart is a seventh generation dairy farmer, and his property Hillview, is the last surviving dairy farm in the Pambula area.

He will be turning 30 in February, and lives and breathes the farm he loves. But the drought certainly has its challenges.

"There are no days off, its 365 days a year we're out there," he said.

"And we're running at a loss. It's a struggle."

Stuart and Sammy

Stuart and Sammy

Stuart's father is the senior partner in Hillview but lives off-farm and is semi-retired. Stuart, as a caring son, takes on the bulk of the daily grind making sure his dad gets time off.

He's assisted by a school-based apprentice via Eden Marine High School, Patrick Ballantyne, and another junior, Tanner Upton, who is looking to take on the apprenticeship after the Christmas break.

Billi and Rosie also get in and do their bit to help dad. Rosie helps to feed the calves dressed in her tutu and gumboots - the calves love her and follow her around.

Many in the Bega Valley would know of Sammy and her big heart. In previous years she has hosted many fundraisers for people who have been affected by disaster, and lots of work raising funds for Canteen and other cancer groups, as well as for the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners.

"Stuart, being the big-hearted typical farmer, is there to help out a mate or a neighbour, but he and Sammy will be the very last to say they need a hand or a break," Sammy's mother Debbie Fuge said.

Now it's time for them to take a breather.

Thanks to Pambula Beach Discovery Park, the Whitbys are currently enjoying a short break off farm - although still close enough if, God forbid, an emergency was to occur.

Stuart's daily tasks are also being taken care of for the three days so he can focus on time with his young family.

If his internal body clock allows it, he's definitely due a sleep-in and a recharge.

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This story Lochiel farmer gifted a break by local caravan park first appeared on Merimbula News Weekly.

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