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Caravanners spirits higher than the water

Australasian Touring Caravan Motorhome and Camping Club’s Anita Roberts and Ian Arnel present Tumut SES’s deputy local controller Barry Brundson and volunteer John Curll.

Never was a failure so much fun.

Tumut has made history in being the first place where the Australasian Touring Caravan Motorhome and Camping Club has had to cancel a national rally in its 17-year existence.

The recent floodwaters caused the club, which had 51 caravans and campervans in Tumut, to evacuate the Riverglade Caravan Park three times and had to abandon the rally after three days.

However, far from feeling disappointed, the club was chuffed enough by the experience to donate $920 to the Tumut SES on Friday.

“This has gone down in the history of the club, and we have had just as good a time than if the rally had gone ahead,” rally organizer Anita Roberts said.

“The SES (who evacuated them from the park) have been great to us, as have the town’s people, the local paper and the local businesses, who donated things for us to raffle,” club treasurer Max Walker said.

A large contingent of the club members set up camp at Tumut Railway Station, declaring themselves the “Australasian Touring Caravan Motorhome and Camping Club Railway Gang.”

Of the $920 raised for the SES, $350 came from the Railway Gang.

Other club members went to Adelong, Wagga Wagga and Talbingo.

It was an intense time for the club members.

“I was making 60 phone calls a day,” Anita said. “Gemma and Matt Pearce at the caravan park were wonderful; they couldn’t do enough for us, and the pharmacy insisted on giving us a gift for a future rally.”

The club raffles goods to raise money for community-benefitting groups such as the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

The experience hasn’t put the club off Tumut – quite the opposite.

“We are absolutely coming back,” Anita said. “We have all promised to come back, probably in 2019.”