A team of 40 school students from the Avondale School in the Lake Macquarie area has led a remarkable mission to bring festive cheer to drought stricken families across the Inverell shire.
School representatives arrived in town shortly before Christmas to present mayor Paul Harmon with 40 handmade gifts and shopping vouchers.
Among the Avondale School group was a familiar face to many, former Holy Trinity School teacher Nigel Lynn, who was born and raised in Inverell.
Mr Lynn, Head of Technology at the Avondale School made the visit with Year 10 students Sophie Lynn and Scarlett Mitchell who explained the project was all about putting a smile on people's faces.
"The project has involved students from design and technology, art and commerce and we also had some Year 8 and 9 students who came on board.
"We have 50 gift packages and each package contains three model kits that our students have made on the laser cutter, hand painted and come complete with assembly instructions for young children to create their own toys.
"Along with the gifts, we have 50 gift vouchers to be distributed to families in need due to the drought, which include vouchers for fuel, Inverell retailers as well as a local beautician and hairdressers."
Mr Lynn explained the mission to help those in drought started at a school staff meeting in term four.
"Our Year 10 students were about to start their final two weeks of school for the year and we decided we wanted to help families in drought. Our aim was to have the students work outside their normal classes in a group activity to demonstrate the value of community service."
The project quickly gathered momentum, with staff and students spending hours laser cutting model kits, packaging gifts and a school mufti day raised an additional $1500.
"After speaking with the mayor, he suggested we spend this money in town at local businesses, so we've purchased gift vouchers in the CBD to accompany the gift packs."
Avondale School representatives presented the packages to a delighted Council mayor Paul Harmon, who praised the students for their willingness to help those in need.
"On behalf of our community, I say thank you and want the Avondale School to know our community really appreciates what you have done."
"It's great to see people like Nigel still have that connection with Inverell and these packages will now be distributed by Inverell Lions Club as part of the drought relief activities.
"Sophie and Scarlett and their fellow school mates should feel very proud of their efforts to make such a positive impact."