Helping rebuild lives
By SALLY GORDON
IT'S been almost one month since fire annihilated a section of Maclean's River Street precinct, gutting homes and destroying businesses.
Already, talk of the tragedy is beginning to diminish.
But for six people who lost their homes, the devastation is still raw and the road to recovery is as daunting as it was on the black afternoon of February 27.
Friends of the victims are urging the community to attend a major charity auction at Maclean this Saturday to help those directly affected by the blaze rebuild their lives.
Maclean mother Tracey Marsden said the weekend auction at the Maclean Services Club would represent a celebration of new beginnings.
"People get back into their lives, they have other things going on and forget about the news from a week ago," she said. "But for those people affected by the fire, they're still battling to recover and whatever we can do to make the journey easier for them I think we should."
Mrs Marsden and James Creek resident Leticia Cashman have been tirelessly toiling away behind the scenes in the hope that this Saturday's event will produce a positive kickstart for those who lost their homes in the blaze.
The two school mums were spurred into action after learning their friends Anne, Les and Nikki Gibson, lost everything when the fire destroyed their home above the Little Blue Wren store.
For people looking for the ultimate gift, this weekend's auction may have what you need with an array of donated prizes up for grabs, including a Parramatta Eels guernsey signed by the team.
"We've pinned it up on a board and wrapped it in cellophane, then if they want to frame it themselves they can have it done in the frame of their choice," Mrs Marsden said.
Holidays from a selection of Yamba's tourist hot spots such as Calypso Caravan Park, the Blue Dolphin and Clarence Coast Resort are up for grabs.
Other auction items include a three-course meal prepared by local chefs at your own house, a painting of the fire scene by Steve Cansdell and a scenic drive in a 1960s MGA sports car compliments of Yamba Trading Co.
Mrs Marsden said the generosity of the Clarence Valley community had been amazing.
"All the business houses have been absolutely brilliant," she said.
"I'm just blown away by how much people have donated."
A number of firefighters who were involved in extinguishing the fire are also expected to attend this Saturday's event which starts at 7pm.