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Tathra Golf Club is doing its bit in helping the community get back on two feet.
In mid-March, over 70 homes and businesses were destroyed in the tiny NSW South Coast town by an out of control bushfire.
Four weeks have passed since the disaster, and the residents are now faced with the monumental task of rebuilding. It is a process that will take months to achieve.
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With so many homes destroyed and plenty of people’s lives battered, the town’s tiny 12 hole club is doing its bit and quietly proving what being a part of the community is all about.
The club, which was lucky to be spared from the ravages of the fire, has served as a meeting and co-ordination point for a number of assitance organisations since the disaster. Last weekend, it held an ‘Open-Door Night' as a thank you for the emergency crews, volunteers and locals who are still out helping people find their feet and getting the town back up and running.
“As soon as the town was re-opened we posted the invite to absolutely everybody, the paid services, the neighbours and those that stayed behind to help to come down for a drink and a meal, everything was on us,” Colleen Bennett the club’s president said. “It went from five till late and was very well received.”
Mrs Bennett said it was also probably the first chance for many of those affected by the fire to be able to talk about their ordeal amongst friends and community.
“There were some terrifying stories,” she said.
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Mrs Bennett said although a lot of the coordination for fund-raising for victims was already in place, this initiative was one which the club’s executive had thought about and were happy to deliver.
“There has been an awful lot going on, and we felt there was a need for the community to talk about it.
“It was a gesture to get the town together,” she said.
Mrs Bennett said she had already been contacted by clubs within the Far South Coast and Tablelands district offering support. Although grateful for the direct offers, she said donations should be made to the official Appeal Fund.
“We’ve all got involved in co-ordinating the fund-raising effort, and ensuring that monies that are coming in are directed to the Tathra Fire Mayoral Appeal Fund.
“I’ve had offers from all of the other clubs in our association who want to give, but we need it to go to a bigger fund within the Tathra community.
“The money raised will then go directly to those affected by the fire,” Mrs Bennett added.
Some of the club’s members lost everything in the fire, and Mrs Bennett said she was still unsure exactly how many were impacted. She said the club would be considering ways to help its own if they need assistance shortly. She stressed, however, getting the town back on its feet was the priority.
“Some people are insured; there's a lot of people who aren’t uninsured. We need to assess everything properly."
“I know one lady who lost everything. Her clubs were in the car boot. They were the only thing she didn’t lose,” Mrs Bennett said.
People who wish to assist are urged to donate to the Bega Valley Shire Tathra Fire Mayoral Appeal. For details, please phone (02)6499 2355