November 1, 2015
A Brave, Kind Heart
Claude Harvey, affectionately known as ‘The Mowerman’ has raised more than $800,000 for national child protection advocate Bravehearts by pushing his trusty customised cutter around the country, raising awareness and funds for Aussie kids affected by sexual assault.
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” This beautiful quote from Arthur Ashe has been stalking me of late. At conferences, in my Facebook feed … this is clearly a message I need to hear.
Actually, it’s a message we all need to hear. Because we can all change lives. We can all make a difference in the world around us. Just ask Claude Harvey.
For the last 10 years, Claude, affectionately known as ‘Claude The Mowerman’, has been using what he has (a lawnmower) to do what he can (support those in need).
Claude devotes his life to raising much-needed funds for Bravehearts – a cause very close to his heart, by walking with his lawnmower and collecting donations along the way.
The 70-year-old father of two and grandfather of six, has raised over $800,000 by spending about four months each year pounding the pavements with his lawn mower.
Claude started his lawn mowing business in 1986 but had to sell it in 2010 as he had planned to be on the road for five months and felt it wasn’t right to expect his customers to wait that long to have their lawns mowed. These days, he keeps fit for his walks by mowing his friends’ lawns – that’s his only training regime.
Bravehearts is very close to my heart so I decided that I would raise $1 million to help.”
When I interviewed Claude, he was about to start his next adventure – a walk from Tweed Heads to Hope Island, a lazy 120km, and he planned to raise a cool $50,000 over the 14-day walk.
“My motivation is two little girls sexually abused at the ages of three and four,” he tells me, clearly pained by their story. “Bravehearts is very close to my heart so I decided that I would raise $1 million to help.”
He is Bravehearts’ most successful fundraiser and has experienced many adventures including walking through outback Australia and over the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
This year, Claude has walked from the Gold Coast to Lismore, out to Casino and then to Tenterfield, before arriving in Newcastle. He’s also trekked from the Sunshine Coast up to Hervey Bay and Bundaberg, back down to Maleny, out to Gympie and back to Brisbane, stopping by the Profile Magazine office to let us know about his mission.
“I once got lost on the Toowoomba Range and was chased by three bulls, two dogs and one woman! She wanted to rob me,” he laughs.
“And there was the time I pushed the mower from the Gold Coast to Sydney, which took me 38 days. When I got to the Sydney Harbour Bridge I had five security guards try to stop me because they thought I was pushing a bomb onto the bridge! No one told them I was coming. It was pretty funny afterwards but a bit scary at the time.”
Claude Harvey is a man who lives and breathes Arthur Ashe’s quote. He started with a simple dream, he used what he had and each day he is doing what he can. A brave, kind heart indeed.
To follow Claude on his adventures, head to www.facebook.com/claudethemowerman, and to learn more about Bravehearts visit www.bravehearts.org.au.