ARRG volunteer Paul Slessor outside his house with Peppy.
ARRG volunteer Paul Slessor outside his house with Peppy.

Desperation drives bid to save animal centre

By ALEX EASTON aeaston@northernstar.com.au

THE son of famed Australian poet Kenneth Slessor says he will sell his North Lismore home if funds for an animal centre can't be raised by the end of the year. Paul Slessor said he hoped it wouldn't come to that, but he was pre- pared to sell his modest Queenslander and live in a caravan to make sure the Animal Rights and Rescue Group project got off the ground. Mr Slessor is a volunteer with the group, which has worked for years to build the centre. That dream crumbled a few weeks

ago, when a donor offering $150,000 hit financial problems and withdrew. The group is now looking for other donors, but Mr Slessor, a disability pensioner, said it was important the money be found quickly. Mr Slessor is now upping the ante, offering to give up his house to make the centre a reality if a significant donor cannot be found soon. It is a move he admits Animal Rights and Rescue Group founder and co-ordinator Barbara Steffenson has said she was uncomfortable with and has earned him criticism from friends. "They say I'm embarking on an ill- considered gamble," he said. "In a sense I'm gambling with the communi-

ty spirit of Lismore and its business people and philanthropists." If he did sell, Mr Slessor said he would live in a caravan on a com- mune. But he conceded the sale of his modest home would not provide anywhere near the $200,000 needed to build the centre. He said he hoped that offering to sell the house would spur potential do- nors to chip in or that, if he did sell, it would inspire others to put up the rest of the money. Mr Slessor said he could be happy living in a caravan but, given a choice, he'd rather keep the house. n To donate, call 6622 1881 or 6621 5874.



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