Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Award in Recognition of Stan's Country Heart

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Award in Recognition of Stan's Country Heart

Article excerpt

STAN Johnston isn't a betting man.

He'll have a punt maybe five times a year, but that's only when the odds are stacked against one of his horses and he believes it will win.

In fact, Stan, who has owned and operated Kenilworth thoroughbred operation Craiglea Stud for about 30 years now with his wife Marilyn, wasn't always a racing man.

He comes from a family of Sunshine Coast dairy farmers.

"Dad was a cattle buyer for 50 years then the family - dad had eight kids - started buying properties," Stan said while driving the truck during the early morning feed run yesterday.

In the '80s the family began to convert the 174-hectare property on the lush, rain-blessed Mary River flats to a family-run horse stud, which can hold about 350 horses.

Stan has always been a keen sportsman.

"I'm pretty sure I still hold the record for the most amount of runs on the Coast," he said.

He says his experience in the cricketing field helps him keep his nerves trackside when his horses race, even when the family's income is at stake.

But it was his charitable work that saw him win the Racing Minister's Award for Service to Country Racing at the Coastline BMW Sunshine Coast Summer Racing Carnival Gala Ball on Friday night.

"It was nice to be acknowledged, but you do it because you love it," he said.

Stan's work started with a hay run to a flooding Rockhampton, then at Christmas 2013 he began making the long trips west to drought-ravaged farming families.

"We went all over Queensland with the Hay for Kids and we did it all at Craiglea's cost," Stan said.

"We gave hay for about 200 kids' ponies from Julia Creek to Cunnamulla - out to the Channel Country - we helped every kid that emailed us."

This Christmas, with the bush still in the grip of drought, the Johnstons delivered hampers to those doing it tough.

"For the first time we saw even rich people accept help.

"Then we had people from all over Australia help. …

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