Mower man on mission to cut out child abuse
WHEN he heard of the sexual abuse of two young girls almost 17 years ago, 'Mower Man' Claude Harvey was so enraged he wanted to kill the accused.
But instead, he channelled that anger into fighting child sexual abuse by pushing his iconic mower across the nation, fundraising through the Bravehearts Foundation.
"When I found out about the incident...it motivated me to protect these kids, to protect kids across Australia,'" Mr Harvey said.
"I thought to myself 'I'm going to have to raise $1 million to help other kids."
That drive has seen him raise over $900,000 over the past 10 years, going through almost 83 pairs of sandals during his trek across the nation.
Now only $66,000 off his fundraising target of $1 million, he said he was hopeful this visit would help break that target.
"When I raise the $1 million, I'll keep going. It's an ongoing thing."
His mower has become something of an Australian icon, earning him the title of the 'mower man' by local residents and the Bravehearts Foundation.
Mr Harvey said the mower was something of a "gimmick."
"If I just walked, nobody would really take any notice of me. But if I decorated a lawnmower the whole world would take notice of me," he said.
"After a couple of years of doing it on the Gold Coast, I just walked into a shopping centre. People were saying to me 'Here comes the mower man!'
"Everybody now knows me because of that."
Mr Harvey will be fundraising today and tomorrow across the Esplanade and in town, before moving onto Howard, Childers and Bundaberg over the next few days.
"You'll be able to hear me if you can't see me!" he said.