Santa’s Pony Express is coming to town
CHRISTMAS in the Australian bush has always loved to buck tradition, so Santa arriving on the back of utes, ride-on mowers, dirt bikes and tractors to Christmas parties isn't an uncommon sight to most country kids.
However this year a number of towns in the Western Downs will be treated to a particularly special sight, with Santa's mode of transport being a carriage drawn by two ex-harness horses.
Santa's Pony Express is the brain child of Stef Dillon but considering the motivation behind the initiative it would be more apt to call it a "heart child".
"We're not out to make money, we're out to support CareFlight, who look after our area," Ms Dillon said.
Santa's Pony Express will operate as a present delivery service, with horses Pumba and Ella, driven by Ms Dillon and Santa himself, dropping presents off right at people's doors.
Ms Dillon said she had always helped out CareFlight wherever she could but earlier this year her commitment to the aero-medical charity became considerably more impassioned when she found herself needing their services.
"In June or July my daughter went missing for just three minutes one day and when we found her she was floating face-down in the dam," Ms Dillon recalled.
"She had turned blue and was severely hyperthermic. It was very scary."
Ms Dillon rang 000 and was talked through how to perform CPR before CareFlight arrived to fly the 21-month-old to Toowoomba Hospital.
At this stage Santa's Pony Express plans to deliver presents in Chinchilla on December 16 from 4pm, Tara on December 17, and Miles on December 18.
But Ms Dillon said if Santa's Pony Express can get at least 10 people interested in any other neighbouring towns, a present pony drop will be organised for those places too.
"It's not just for the kids either, we'll go anywhere we legally and safely can - as long as it's not too far for the horses," she said.
"We don't want anyone to miss out, so we're happy to negotiate (the donation cost) and to pick up presents for people who can't leave their houses."
The presents need to be dropped off at Santa's Pony Express depot before December 15, wrapped and including the name and address of the gift's recipient, along with a donation of between $10 and $20, which will go directly to CareFlight.
"It should be affordable to everyone though, so even if you've got six kids at the one house it won't be more than $20," Ms Dillon said.
If you would like to organise the delivery of a gift or are able to lend Santa's Pony Express a car trailer to, contact Stef Dillon at Belyando Horse Drawn Adventures on 0497 089 589 or via her Facebook page.