LONG TERM VOLUNTEERS: Sue and Ted McKinnon. Amber Hooker

Determined to fulfil Gemfest duty

AFTER he was diagnosed with lymphoma following last year's Gemfest, Ted McKinnon was adamant nothing would stop him returning in 2015.

Exactly one month on from his last hospital appointment, the dedicated volunteer and his partner Sue, were back to fulfil their duty across the four-day festival - Ted on guard at the Anakie School of Arts Hall and Sue on the gate.

"There was no thought of not coming," Ted said.

"It's the people, the people you meet.

"I do the same place here, for four days."

Sue said having spent every winter on the road for the past 21 years, after they came across the Gemfields they could not help but revisit.

"We were coming through, like everyone else, caravan behind and going through to Longreach," she said.

"We stopped here and we liked it; went on up where we were going that year, then we came back and stayed here coming back and so it became a habit."

Ted said nine was the ballpark number of years he and Sue had volunteered and they were already eager to make it a decade.

"We have a couple of weeks, we are already booked in again next year for the caravan park," he said.

"You have to otherwise you don't get a site."

Ted and Sue both agreed that, besides the great company, the drawing of the raffle on the Sunday afternoon was the highlight of Gemfest.

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