Philip Beaton has been organising the Sapphire City Markets for close to a decade and last year was the brainchild of a Inverell Lions Club initiative to assist farmers through the drought.
This week, Mr Beaton accepted an award for outstanding service to the Inverell Lions Club. The dedicated Lion said he enjoyed organising the markets, help in Campbell Park twice a month.
"I've been organiser for maybe eight or nine years. I had 18 months off recently, but I'm back now. It's all about helping people set up their stalls at the right sites, and assisting as much as we can to help them make money. We also make some money for the site rent which then, as a club, we put back in the community."
The role of Sapphire City Market organiser entails a lot of behind the scenes jobs, including waking up early on market day to set up and returning later in the day to help pack up.
Mr Beaton said he would like to see more businesses get involved with the Sunday markets, but understood weekends were difficult to commit to.
"We've had a lot of interest in setting up new stalls lately. I expect in the next couple of months we will have many new stalls with different articles to sell. The stall holders and community enjoy the markets and I enjoy organising it," he said.
The Inverell Lions Club pop-up drought shop, located in the band hall at 64 Ring Street, was a huge success helping just under 800 rural and remote residents from across the district.
Mr Beaton approached his fellow Lions last October with the idea to collect food for farmers doing it tough to distribute through a shop- an idea the club welcomed.
"We put ads out for people to donate non-perishable food items to the shop and set up collection bins in IGA, Woolworths and Big W which was well-supported by the whole community. It was unbelievable how much food was donated," he said.
Kellogg's Australia heard about the initiative and donated a B-double truck load of their product, which totalled to hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stock. Inverell's Real Pet Food Company also made a generous donation to the cause.
Cash donations from local businesses and other clubs enabled Inverell Lions Club to continuously stock up popular food items for the shop, as well as a few fresh food items.
"It took a little while for the lovely rural people to swallow their pride and come in, but they did in time, and other Lions Clubs helped out a lot. They helped distribute a lot of the Kellogg's products from Glen Innes to Moree and from the Queensland border down past Bingara- it was a big area they covered."
The pop-up shop closed at the end of June, as the club couldn't keep the doors open any longer.
"That's not saying the drought is over. They've got years before they will be able to recover unfortunately and there's still a lot of farmers in need," he said.
The Inverell Lions Club thanked Mr Beaton for his tireless contribution and service as a member.
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