Volunteers help drivers take a break

VOLUNTEERS will serve thousands of hot drinks to motorists across the Bendigo district this weekend in an effort to improve road safety.

As the Driver Reviver program celebrates 25 years, volunteers will work around the clock at locations including Marong, Huntly, Heathcote and Maryborough.

The State Emergency Service and Lions Clubs work together to keep the sites staffed.

Marong SES Unit's Greg Cheyne said volunteers worked Thursday night and yesterday. They will return to their stations on Monday.

"There is usually a lot of traffic on Good Friday from 8 or 9 in the morning until about 5pm in the afternoon," he said.

"But we'll stay until there are no more cars."

Mr Cheyne said the Marong team served more than 600 cups of tea and coffee from its caravan over Easter last year.

Marong SES Unit controller Kevin Cahill said a desire to serve the community drove people to join the SES.

"That’s why they volunteer over Easter, because they see a benefit in giving back to the community and they will hopefully save a life," he said.

"Members who do the Driver Reviver enjoy it because it’s not work. 

"You volunteer for an hour or four or five hours. You serve some cuppas and have a chat."

The Marong site is on the Calder Alternative Highway service road near the intersection of the Calder Highway.

"We get lots of traffic travelling between Melbourne, Swan Hill and Mildura," Mr Cahill said.

"It’s a very busy transport route. Trucks will stop for a cuppa and a toilet break."

SES Marong Unit volunteer Willy Johnstone said she worked for Driver Reviver because she wanted to help ensure people arrived safely at their destination.

Easter sites also include Rushworth, Rochester, Dunolly, St Arnaud, Wycheproof, Lockington and Pyramid Hill.

The Marong site did not operate during this year's Australia Day long weekend due to planning hiccups for a new van location.

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