NEW BATHROOM: Fundraiser Willem Van der Heuel, Phillip Tarrant and Cameron Wright, of John Wright Plumbing, electrician Stuart McLaughlan, Mark Robson of Clarence Valley Home Mods and appeal co-ordinator Carol Ordish.
NEW BATHROOM: Fundraiser Willem Van der Heuel, Phillip Tarrant and Cameron Wright, of John Wright Plumbing, electrician Stuart McLaughlan, Mark Robson of Clarence Valley Home Mods and appeal co-ordinator Carol Ordish. Adam Hourigan

Clarence generosity funds renovation rescue after tragedy

A GRAFTON family crammed into a small home after a family tragedy are now living a lot more comfortably thanks to a renovation rescue funded by the Clarence Valley community.

Noel and Gloria Holmes took their young grandchildren Kiara and Sebastian into the two-bedroom house they share with one of their sons, when daughter Sheree died in December last year.

Struggling to make their Centrelink allowance stretch far enough, they appealed to the community for assistance in raising the two children.

With the help of family friend Carol Ordish, about $7500 has been raised through donation tins, direct deposits and fundraisers - not only enough money to install a demountable bedroom on the property, but to renovate the bathroom; a project which has just been completed.

Mrs Ordish said an anonymous donation of $2000 last week got them over the line to pay Clarence Valley Home Modification and Maintenance for their services, with a little left over to add a few final touches.

"There's a bit of work left to do, but we've got the money to do that now," she said.

The stylish new bathroom is a big improvement on the house's former facilities, which were in a state of disrepair.

The bathroom contained only a large hot water heater, vanity and a small bath with a shower over it, and the toilet was an outhouse on the back deck, which the children were hesitant to use in winter because it was "freezing".

Mrs Holmes, who is in the process of securing guardianship of Kiara and Sebastian, said they were still getting used to the house's modifications.

"Little Seb still runs to go out the back and gets to the back door and says, 'Oh Nan I did it again'," she said.

"A lot has been done to accommodate the children, but this is home for them; we've been here for 16 years."

Through tears, Mrs Holmes said she wished to thank everyone who made the renovations possible, giving special mention to Mrs Ordish.

"Sheree would be proud of her community," Mrs Holmes said.



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