By JULIA ILES
CHILDREN cheered as sing- er Jimmy Little sang about a lovelorn boy who wrote a girl letters of affection. "Tie a yellow ribbon around the old oak tree," he sang at the South Graf- ton Public School yesterday in his distinct deep and simple voice. Jimmy was in the Valley visiting schools as an am- bassador for the NSW Department of Education NAIDOC Week activities. He reached the hundred- odd audience with mes- sages of hope, love and na- tional pride. But Jimmy has always had a rapport with chil- dren. "I am like a lot of people, young at heart, there is an innocence there that I connect with and re- late to," he said. "Knowing that these chil- dren will one day become adults, I relish the moment of being in their company and reminisce my own childhood." The award winning Aust- ralian country singer was born near Echuca by the Victoria and NSW border and lived with his mother's tribe the Cumagunja people. "I am from a long line of entertainers my parents are musicians and if I had lived in my grandparents' time, I would be the one dancing and singing around the campfire with clappers and spears," he said. "I used to come and per- form in Grafton a lot dur- ing the 1960s and have been to the Grafton Ser- vices Club, gone to the races and the flower festi- val."
Recently Jimmy under- went a life saving kidney transplant operation after many years on a dialysis machine. His experience has moti- vated him to help people in remote communities who often have to travel for hours to use a dialysis machine. "There's always some- thing cooking in the kitch-
en, I am like a made in Australia old Holden car . . . and am in the process of setting up funds for dial- ysis clinics in remote parts of Australia through a foundation called the Jim- my Little Foundation," he said. "I am also going to be working on a new al- bum, one that revolves around the issues of health and education.