Mums rattle the can
By PETER ELLEM
TWO school mums from Maclean rattling the can for six people left homeless by the recent Cafe Boulevarde precinct fire in River Street have been 'blown away' by the generosity of Lower River businesses.
Tracey Marsden, of Lawrence, and Leticia Cashman, of James Creek, swung into action last Tuesday morning after learning that their friends ? Anne, Les and Nikki Gibson ? had lost everything in the blaze.
The women always had been in awe of the Gibsons' generosity of spirit as fundraisers for St Joseph's Catholic Primary School, and through them, have met the other upstairs tenants as they try to rebuild their lives.
''So many people have spoken of them (the Gibsons) as always having their door open to others in need ... they are big, big givers,'' the women said. ''Yamba's Calypso Caravan Park put the family up in emergency accommodation with a fully stocked fridge and The Professionals, Maclean, have found them a home to rent in Townsend.''
Mrs Marsden and Mrs Cashman have been canvassing the CBDs of Maclean and Yamba with their red clipboard, collecting pledges for a major charity auction at Maclean Services Club on March 25.
Mrs Marsden said what had struck them most was the caring nature and resilience of Maclean's business community, despite having been devastated by the temporary loss of 16 jobs and major disruptions during demolition.
She singled out local accountant Peter Hamilton, who had arranged for the Rotary Club of Maclean to be caretaker of the appeal account at Westpac Bank Maclean, and Townsend's Cathy Johns, whose fundraising at Yamba Bi-Lo supermarket already had raised $1000.
Business donating prizes to go under auctioneer John McConnell's hammer include: Home Hardware Maclean (barbecue); Maclean Mowers (mower/two brushcutters), The Daily Examiner ($2500 advertising package), Maclean Services Club (two chefs to cook a dinner for six), Thunder Road (music) and several family holiday prizes.
Tickets, at $15 a head, are available from LJ Hooker Real Estate and The Professionals Real Estate Maclean, Maclean Flower Box, Maclean Services Club, Lawrence Post Office, The Professionals Real Estate Yamba, The Daily Examiner Grafton and Eye Care Plus, Grafton.