Burren Junction policeman Paul Matts said he was absolutely blown away by the kindness and generosity of the Burren community when he first moved to town.
So much so that he’s been busily organising a fun, family event on Saturday, December 7 to say thank you and help take people’s minds off the drought.
“When I moved out here, about eighteen months ago, everyone was so helpful – the removalists were at my house and the teachers came straight over and invited me to the school for tea and coffee,” said Senior Constable Matts.
“The locals would always say hello and introduce themselves.
“My partner wasn’t living here when I first arrived and the locals would invite me over for dinner – nice things like that.
“They all live out here and I’ve just come out here for a few years so I thought it would be good to do something that shows that I’m appreciative, and I wanted to give something back.”
Senior Constable Matts has previously worked in Coffs Harbour and Sydney including with the Mounted Police Unit.
“I was just thinking one day that Burren’s never really had a movie night out here and that’s something that happens over at the coast a fair bit,” he said.
Senior Constable Matts has been fundraising to make the family event free.
There will be two movies shown on the pop up, outdoor cinema screen – Toy Story 4 and Aladdin as well as free popcorn and slush puppies.
“I’ve secured an inflatable screen and projector which I will donate to the Burren Public School P and C at the end of the event for future use,” he said.
But before the movie night starts, there will be a whole afternoon of entertainment kicking off at 3.30pm at the Burren Junction Oval this Saturday.
“There’ll be a slip-and-slide,” said SC Matts.
“The RFS will put up the hose to wet down the tarps so the kids can slide down, there’ll be water bombs the kids can throw at the cops in our riot gear.
“Hopefully the highway patrol car will come out so the kids can look at that too, my police car will also be there.
“There’ll be a game of touch footy – the cops verse the locals.”
And at a secret time, Santa will even step away from his workshop to visit the crowd at Burren Junction Oval.
Senior Constable Matts also praised the member for Barwon Roy Butler for his support of the community day.
“Roy is coming out too so locals can chat to him about issues that are affecting people here.
“It’s pretty much a chance to approach him and say what they want.
“It’s really good he’s coming to show his support.”
Mr Butler will be in the district for a number of events throughout the week.
Senior Constable Matts said representatives from the Rural Crime Police Unit will also be at the event.
“There’s two new detectives so I can introduce farmers to them and they can talk about strategies or if they’ve got issues – I know there’s a fair bit of poaching going on so they can talk about that.”
Senior Constable Matts said there will be plenty of prizes up for grabs too including accommodation at Coffs Harbour and tickets to the test cricket in Sydney.
“I will also use some of the money raised to buy vouchers from local businesses and use those as prizes too.”
“And I’ve got a free barbecue to cover the time between the community engagement day and the start of the movie night.”
Senior Constable Matts also thanked the community members who were helping him organise the big day at Burren Junction and he encouraged everyone to bring a chair, come along and join in the fun.