A DONATION drive has seen $17,000 worth of sport equipment land at clubs and schools across the Northern Rivers.
The Newcastle group led by Spectrum Sports Sciences coach Dennis Pitt spent a month preparing to bring as much as they could to flood-affected families.
Pitt coaches athletics with one of his students part of the Lismore Athletics Club.
He was contacted by Warren Phelps, from the Northern NSW Branch of the Lord's Taverners, who helped get him in contact with clubs and schools around the region.
The four-day trip saw his team of eight visit Coraki, Empire Vale, Evans Head, Goonellabah, Lismore, Wardell and Woodburn.
"I got in contact with as many schools as I could and asked them for a wish list of what they wanted," Pitt said.
"It was to put a smile on people's faces and for us to learn what everyone is going through.
"Empire Vale only had 23 kids but all of them have lost their home and their school and are now living in tents and caravans.
"The spirit of the kids is overwhelming, you wouldn't know what a lot of them are going through.
"It was the first sport a lot of them have done since February.
"The teachers told us at some places that some of the kids we had participating are usually the ones who never want to do sport."
Pitt, 70, has worked with professional athletes for more than 20 years while his wife Janine is a retired nurse.
They were joined by Hilary Tearle, Paul Hughes, Brian Foster, Ross Osland, Will Furber and Vanessa Price to help run sport programs while they were at the schools.
"I've always thought that we were put on this planet to help other people and I try to teach my athletes to become better people," Dennis said.
"We heard everything from people losing boats after they were damaged trying to rescue people, all the way through to a nurse talking about increased suicide rates since the floods."
The team have left signed gear from the Canterbury Bulldogs, Newcastle Jets, Sydney FC and NSW State of Origin team for the Lord's Taverners to put to auction.
The Taverners have paid for new equipment for the Lismore Little Athletics Club.
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