The Wokingham Paper

Tesco shoppers give generously to Rotary collection for Australian bushfire victims

Rotary Club Bushfire collection
Members of the Rotary Club of Easthampstead, including former firefighter Les Howard, at Tesco in Warfield on Saturday

EVENTS in Australia in recent weeks have horrified many of us. The raging bush fires have seen an area three times the size of Wales destroyed, wildlife displaced and homes ruined. 

So it was no wonder that shoppers at a local supermarket on Saturday gave generously to a special collection for those affected by the blazes. 

Members of the Easthampstead Rotary Club visited the Warfield branch of Tesco to ask customers for donations. 

Among the collectors was Wokingham resident and ex-firefighter Les Howard.

Bruce Irvine, who organised the appeal, said: “A grand total of just over £1,570 was donated, and every penny raised will support local people devastated by the ongoing blazes. 

“The money will be sent direct to the Rotary Club of Upper Northern Beaches, Sydney who is co-ordinating aid for the NSW Rural Fire Service.”

The reports of deaths, loss of homes and property, destruction of vast swathes of countryside, with the resulting loss of wildlife continue to hit our headlines … and the fight goes on!

A NSW Rural Fire Service spokesperson said: “Since September, close to 3,000 firefighters have been out every day in NSW battling blazes the size of small European countries. And almost 90% of those firefighters on the ground are unpaid volunteers.”

Daniel Knox, one of thousands of Australians who’ve dropped their ordinary lives to battle the nation’s raging fire crisis added: “We’re doing it because it’s a passion. It’s a brotherhood.”   

The NSW Rural Fire Service has 70,000 members who are extensively trained but, except for a few senior staff, mostly unpaid.

Thirty people have died in bushfires, three of them firefighters. More than 6.500 buildings have been destroyed, 3,000 of them homes. 

Easthampstead Rotarians thank all those shoppers on Saturday who stopped and gave so generously to this Disaster Appeal. 

To donate, log on to www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/volunteer/support-your-local-brigade

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