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Local Hero on a Pink Tractor – Hugh Bateman

October is traditionally breast cancer awareness month and for the past two years, there has been a spotlight on Mudgee, a regional town in NSW. Last year Hugh Bateman, Director of The Property Shop in Mudgee, went the extra mile embarking on a 2,900km trip around NSW on a pink tractor and raising more than $381,000 for the McGrath Foundation. This year he also lead the town in turning pink for October, raising a further $120,000.

In the competitive industry of real estate it can be hard to stand out. But Hugh Bateman from The Property Shop, along with the Mudgee community, are great examples of going above and beyond the call of duty in helping to raise $500,000 in two years for the McGrath Foundation.

Hugh’s quest began in early 2015 when, after hearing of several friends and clients fighting breast cancer, he decided to do something to help. He bought a tractor at auction in Sydney, took it home to Mudgee and painted it pink, as well as making some other alterations to make his planned journey more comfortable.

After coordinating a fundraising function in each town where he was scheduled to stop (with some help from his fellow RER Network members) Bateman set off in the tractor on October 9. His 21-day journey took him to Dubbo, Orange, Griffith, across to Goulburn and then to Wollongong, followed by seven suburbs of Sydney. After that it was up the east coast to places like Long Jetty and Port Stephens, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, then down through the Hunter Valley on the way back home to Mudgee – all at an average speed of 27km/h.

“At the time,” says Bateman, “I wanted to raise $250,000; but then it got to a stage where each function I was attending and each night I was out on the road we raised a little bit more money.” And he ended up with a better result than his original goal.

Bateman speaks passionately about the charity that he supports. “The McGrath Foundation’s breast care nurses were started by Jane McGrath, and also Tracy Bevan, way back 11 years ago when Jane first contracted breast cancer. Raising the $380,000 that we did was enough to put one new nurse on [to the program], which was #110 in Liverpool hospital.

“[The Foundation], it’s enabled people who have breast cancer to have the care of a nurse in their area, not just from a physical point of view but also from a psychological one,” he continues.

hugh-bateman_property-shop_community-champion-judges-and-peoples-choicesThis year, Bateman was deservedly recognised twice at the inaugural AREA awards, receiving both the People’s Choice and Judges’ Choice Contribution to Community awards. Says Bateman, “It was a huge surprise, and a great night.”

As a town, Mudgee has continued the mission to support the McGrath Foundation. With roughly one in eight women in Australia being diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime, the Mudgee Chamber of Commerce, supported by the Mid-Western Region Council, coordinated an event this year called ‘Pink up Mudgee’ which has also been a huge success, raising a further $120,000.

For his pink tractor journey, Bateman is still the highest individual fundraiser in the McGrath Foundation’s 10-year history.

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